Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Does Your Business Need a Telecommuting Policy?

Telecommuting is becoming a more popular option these days. As long as employees remain productive, you can save money with a smaller office, less overhead and a happier workforce.

But before you offer employees the privilege of working at home, you need to create a telecommuting policy that protects your interests. Having the following types of rules written in stone can prevent accusations of favoritism, discrimination and arbitrary conduct.

Who and when.

A good telecommuting policy explicitly states which positions are eligible to telecommute and when that privilege kicks in. It also sets down which days and during which hours an employee can be off-site. It's also wise to include telecommuting exceptions, such as when there are in-office meetings.

Set expectations.

You need to set expectations about productivity and how the employee will conduct business while at home. Periodically discuss these goals and whether they are being met. The last thing you want is to be accused of arbitrarily revoking the privilege.

Ensure security and privacy.

If you have sensitive client data, decide who is responsible for ensuring secure home connections, as well as where the employee can work. You don't want confidential information being exposed in a coffee shop.

A telecommuting policy should also explicitly list how and when company assets, such as computers, can be used.

Communication.

Last, but definitely not least, every telecommuting policy should talk about communication. How employees communicate with you and others, what they will communicate and when. The lines need to remain open for telecommuting to work.

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