WHAT: Various governments and states have created remote working checklists for companies considering the transition to allowing remote work. The Irish government conducted a public inquiry to understand what remote workers required from new policies. The checklist produced from this covered: covering / internal policy; time organisation and employment rights; physical and mental health and safety; equality issues; training; data protection and cyber security.
Stringent rules in the US mean that remote work policies need to be very specific. In Sweden the concept of “fortroende arbetstid” exists, where employees are trusted to do the work hours assigned to them. In the United States, employees must be paid for any work hours done, even if these are undeclared and merely suspected by the employer. Expense reimbursement (coworking space, home office supplies, etc.) needs to be addressed – in the USA, if this brings an employee’s salary down to below minimum wage, an employer is obliged to pay. Workplace safety also needs to be considered even from a home office – workplace accidents need to be defined for insurance situations.
SO WHAT: Looking for government suggested checklists can help a company ensure that they are acting optimally and within local legislation. Considerations such as dealing with workplace harassment, overtime, work-life balance and workplace injury can easily be forgotten about when removing employees from the office setting, though they are incredibly important to ensure employee retention, as well as ensuring that employees are treated with the proper respect and wellbeing they deserve.