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Elements of an effective work-from-anywhere policy
If you’re considering changing your hybrid or work-from-home policies — or if you’re setting up remote working policies for the first time — consider the following elements when creating your WFA policy:
Including these elements in your policy can help you balance your employees’ desire for flexibility with your company’s values and needs.
Read How to Successfully Onboard Remote Employees to ensure you’re setting your remote employees up for success.
Company culture and values
Companies that value learning and development, open-mindedness, and adaptability can implement WFA policies to highlight these ideals. For instance, companies exemplify their openness to various working and learning styles by allowing employees to choose environments to maximize their productivity.
However, a work-from-anywhere is not viable for every company. In addition, beyond the in-person requirements for some businesses and industries, implementing a WFA policy could damage company culture.
For example, if WFA privileges are only available to select employees due to job roles, or if some employees use the perk more than others, it could defy company diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Meanwhile, employees who choose to work remotely could experience a degree of proximity bias, such as being overlooked for promotions or excluded from team activities, compared to their in-office peers.
Sentiment analysis and pulse surveys can help you understand whether offering a WFA policy to employees will help strengthen or erode your company’s culture and values. To promote fairness and career growth, consider providing comparable benefits like extra paid time off (PTO) or development opportunities to employees who are unable to work remotely due to job demands.
Communication and collaboration
WFA policies must include language around employee communication and collaboration expectations, especially if they primarily occur asynchronously across different time zones and working hours.
Technological advancements in remote communication, collaboration, and productivity tools, like Zoom, Slack, and Google Workspace, can easily accommodate and align distributed teams. However, these solutions remain limited by the capabilities of the internet. In other words, no matter how instantaneous information transfer over the internet is, there is always some delay compared to in-person communication.
If your company is moving to a remote working policy for the first time, consider how communication and collaboration will change across your teams, whether it will impact any team members, customers, or clients, and adjust your workflows accordingly.
Technology and cybersecurity requirements
WFA means companies must provide their distributed workforce with the hardware and software tools to complete their work effectively. It also means complying with security, data, and employee privacy laws in different states and countries, such as CCPA and GDPR. Moreover, depending on the business, employers may need to consider how WFA policies will affect highly sensitive information, such as:
IT departments, consultants, or software vendors can help you implement a system to provide these tools to employees, remotely maintain them, and minimize security risks. Consider options like digital workspaces for remote employees so they can access the platforms they need from any compatible device. Although costly, they are easier for IT departments to maintain and more flexible for employees.
Productivity and work-life balance
While employers must provide all necessary tools and support for employees to work from anywhere, employees’ remote or hybrid productivity must remain on par with their in-office peers. They also are subject to similar performance standards.
At the same time, companies should encourage employees working from anywhere to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Because of the flexibility of WFA policies, there is a risk remote employees will feel obligated to work longer than onsite coworkers. To combat this, continuous feedback and check-ins with managers can help remote employees establish realistic goals to manage their performance.
Laws and regulations
Laws and regulations vary between states and municipalities, let alone between countries and regions. As a result, companies must learn how to navigate these to support employees who plan to work outside of their permanent residence.
Some of the laws companies should be aware of when crafting their WFA policies include the following:
Unless working with an employer of record (EOR), companies must also ensure they can legally conduct business in other regions. For example, employers must obtain licenses in every U.S. state their employees choose to work in. Likewise, companies must establish a foreign branch or a subsidiary in each country where their employees work.
Check out some of the top global payroll solutions to help manage your remote workforce:
How to create a work-from-anywhere policy
As with any company policy, survey the opinion of stakeholders affected, such as executives, employees, and customers or clients, to ensure working from anywhere is a viable solution for your company. And, of course, put the policy in writing, distribute and communicate it to your staff, and develop a system to obtain their acknowledgment.
Besides considering the elements mentioned above, be sure also to address the following questions.
Limits and restrictions:
Clearly outlining a work-from-anywhere policy, identifying employer and employee responsibilities, and annually reviewing it for relevancy ensures it remains fair, consistent, and supportive of diverse employee lifestyles.
If you need help creating, maintaining, and sharing your WFA policy, check out our HR Software Guide for a range of solutions to fit your varying needs.
Work-from-anywhere policy FAQs
Featured HR software partners
Rippling is the first way for businesses to manage all of their HR, IT, and Finance — payroll, benefits, computers, apps, corporate cards, expenses, and more — in one unified workforce platform. By connecting every business system to one source of truth for employee data, businesses can automate all of the manual work they normally need to do to make employee changes.
BambooHR is an award-winning HR platform that helps your growing organizations automate, centralize, and connect your people data all in one place. It gives you a one stop shop to manage data, hire talent, run payroll, and help employees grow.
Elevate your HR with a modern, easy-to-use HRIS designed for small businesses. GoCo is a secure, compliant hub for sending, digitally signing, and organizing your sensitive HR documents and data. Manage records, performance, time off, onboarding, benefits, and more – all in one place. With the best support in the industry, every GoCo customer is assigned a dedicated Customer Success Team that is readily available to provide guidance and ensure a smooth and reliable HRIS experience.