Companies Are Embracing Remote Teams Without Remote Work Policies

Yesterday we spoke with Upwork’s Zoe Harte, Senior Vice President of HR and Talent Innovation concerning their recent survey which revealed that remote workers are becoming more common all the time.

Source: AlexBrylov / iStock / Getty

You can check out the survey here.
Daily Advisor: I wasn’t surprised to hear that 63% of companies have remote workers. I was surprised to learn that 57% of companies that do have remote workers do not have work-from-home policies. Why is that?
Harte: Many companies provide work-from-home options. While 64% of companies feel they have the resources in place to support a remote workforce, many lack a formal work-from-home policy. As this way of working becomes increasingly popular, companies are still trying to figure out how to implement a policy that’s a fit for everyone working within the organization. We often see work-from-home policies implemented at a departmental level first, established by both individual team members and their hiring managers, with clearly defined goals, schedules, and work outcomes.
Daily Advisor: Are there any advantages at all to not defining a work-from-home policy if you have remote workers?
Harte: As your company grows, it’s important to have a work-from-home policy that establishes clear expectations for both the individuals and the team. This helps you keep track of team members who are working remotely while ensuring they are performing at their peak, regardless of location.
Daily Advisor: What are some of the risks of having remote workers without work-from-home policies?
Harte: Without a defined policy, it can be difficult to provide direct oversight or manage remote employees. It’s also important to have a policy enabling employees to engage remote talent and setting options and parameters for doing so. There are ways to overcome this by creating performance benchmarks and making sure employees who work remotely are meeting the requirements with regard to production and quality of work. Ultimately, when you hire competent people you can trust, the benefits outweigh the potential risks of having a work-from-home policy.
Daily Advisor: Do you have any advice for our HR readers who do not have formal work-from-home policies? Where can they start? How do they sell such policies to the C-suite?
Harte: The best way to get started is by building a collaborative, crossfunctional team that is responsible for developing the remote work policy. When working together to craft a remote work policy, it’s important to keep in mind issues such as expectations for working hours, communication methods, equipment, and security. Furthermore, the team should ensure that the policy is inclusive of all team members, is clearly defined, and is properly communicated throughout the organization.
As a bonus, here is an infographic that summarizes their recent survey’s results:

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