The implementation of a workplace telecommuting policy can be a significant undertaking. Not only must you assess which job titles are properly suited for remote work, you must also draft a clearly structured, comprehensive telecommute agreement. While this can become a long process, with the rise in employee demand for more flexible work schedules, the sooner you implement a telework policy, the more ahead of the game your organization will be.
Creating a telecommuting agreement should be high on your priority list when developing a workplace telework policy. Without this agreement, managers and their employers would have no guidelines from which to base new remote working arrangements, leading to confusion and, even worse, legal complications. Rather, according to (Jilovec, 2011), it’s best to have telecommuting terms addressed in a clear, legally binding agreement to offer less room for misunderstandings.
The telecommuting policy should be added to your workplace handbook and can include, among other details, the following specifications:
- Business hours – Specify the days and time remote work is allowed. Will telecommuters work more or less than regular office hours? Are they expected to be accessible during all normal business hours?
- Equipment – An agreement should specify whether a telecommuter is responsible for providing distance working equipment or if the organization will offer all required items.
- Information Security – High profile organizations and government offices in particular must specially address information security for telecommute arrangements. How will office information remain secure? Are telecommuters allowed to access sensitive documents off-site through an intranet?
- Workers compensation – Accidents can happen any place, including in a telecommuter’s home. As such, the agreement should specify when and if distance workers are covered under the company’s plan.
- Termination – Employers must maintain the right to terminate the telecommute arrangement at any time, for any reason. Additionally, the agreement should specify that distance working is a privilege rather than a right.
The above specifications certainly aren’t the only details to include in your telecommute agreement. Rather, the document should be specific to the type of business you operate and the individual challenges you expect to encounter with remote workers. Here are 5 sample telecommute agreements to provide additional examples of common details included in these documents:
- Sample Telecommuting Agreement – This telecommuting policy sample includes specifications on everything from dependent care to worker’s compensation specifications.
- University of Michigan Sample Telecommuting Agreement – This sample agreement goes beyond the basics to include details such as an agreed-upon telecommuting frequency and tips for home office setup.
- Oregon.gov Sample Telecommuting Agreement – The security of workplace information is a common concern regarding telecommute arrangements. This issue is clearly addressed in the Oregon.gov telecommuting agreement.
- Telecommuting Agreement Sample – This VA state telecommuting agreement is a well-detailed example including termination options, cost obligations and more.
- Louisiana Government Sample Telecommuting Agreement – One important detail to include in your agreement is the requirement of attending in-office meeting, which is one of many specifications in the Louisiana Government sample document.
Telecommuting is unlike any workplace revolution that has occurred. By understanding the challenges your organization will likely encounter as this work arrangement is incorporated and by addressing those challenges in a comprehensive telecommuting agreement, this workplace shift can be more successful. A telecommuting agreement is essential for it leaves less room for misunderstandings and clears companies of many potential legal complications.
“Is Payroll Ready to Telecommute?.” Payroll Manager’s Report 2002.7 (2002): 5. EBSCO MegaFILE. EBSCO. Web. 7 July 2011.
Jilovec, Nahid. “Virtual Workers: Today’s Bedouins, Part 2.” System iNEWS 337 (2007): 39-42. Computers & Applied Sciences Complete. EBSCO. Web. 7 July 2011.