The remote work model of the last few years is shaping up to be the wave of the future. Follow these tips to support your remote employees, whether it’s for a few months as needed or as a permanent new business model.
Decide What Your Remote Policy Entails
Be clear from the start about what constitutes remote work. Is the job 100 percent remote? Or do workers need to attend in-person meetings periodically? Will they need to travel for conferences or trade shows? Also, decide how long the remote policy will be in place. Is it a temporary solution, or is this a permanent model? If temporary, when will the policy be reviewed and what are the criteria for any changes? Do the employees get a say in whether or not to return to the office?
Give Them the Equipment and Services They Need
Most folks don’t have the equipment at home to conduct business properly. Therefore, your employees may need to be provided with computers, printers, copiers, mobile phones, and other devices they use in conducting day-to-day operations. Workers may also need better internet service or other telecom channels, which you should cover rather than having it come out of their pockets. Giving employees this assistance helps separate work and home tasks, and it makes it easier for everyone when it’s time to file taxes in April.
Maintain Time Boundaries
Speaking of separating work and home, don’t ask your employees to work outside normal work hours. Just because they’re home doesn’t mean they’re free at 10 p.m. or on a Sunday to respond to emails or answer calls. Keep after-hours communications to emergencies only, or make it clear that it’s fine for employees to handle something at the start of the next business day, even if you’re emailing them in the middle of the night. This is especially important if people in your company live in different time zones.
As the flip side of this coin, ask employees to keep personal tasks to a minimum during work hours. If an employee is struggling to juggle homeschooling, childcare, or household intrusions with working remotely, offer help, such as:
- Paying for all or a portion of childcare (or even pet care)
- Covering tutoring services, laptops, or other remote learning needs for employees’ kids
- Reimbursing for out-of-home workspace
- Offering flexible work hours, as long as the job gets done
Schedule Check-In Sessions
For some remote workers, out of sight sadly means out of mind. Be sure to check in with employees working remotely to see how things are going. An email is great, but it’s usually better to schedule a video call to chat live. If only some workers are remote, be sure to include them in office news and social events. A virtual happy hour or birthday celebration is a terrific way to keep them in the loop.
Make Sure You Have Insurance Coverage for Remote Work
Homeowner insurance policies may not cover business losses, so you want to have a business insurance policy that protects remote workers. This includes:
- General liability
- Specific liability scenarios (errors and omissions, hiring practices, etc.)
- Commercial auto (if using a company vehicle)
- Hired and non-owned auto (if employees drive their own/rented vehicles for work)
- Property insurance
- Equipment coverage
- Workers compensation
These days, with all the different workplace models companies are using, it can be tough to know exactly what kind of coverage you need and what’s extraneous. We’re happy to talk with you more about your business and help you understand what insurance is best for your unique method of operation, including remote work. Call Northern Insurance Services at 907-802-6990 with your questions, or get a quote online today.