What is your Telecommuting Strategy?

Can employers require employees to work from home as an infection-control strategy? Should they?

               Absolutely, and it is recommended. Creating a telework policy will ensure your business keeps running and save you the expense of having the entire staff out sick.

Things to consider when creating a telecommuting policy:

  • Develop a policy for tracking and restricting work time for non-exempt employees. Working from home does not mean automatic authorized overtime. Emailed time sheets should do the trick.
  • Allow telecommuting for everyone, not just the employees with children or others claiming some kind of hardship. Create a policy that covers all your employees.
  • Document that telecommuting is a temporary accommodation for your firm (or team) due to the public health crisis. When things get back to normal, things will get back to normal.
  • Remember, your employees need to be as available to you as if they were down the hall in their office. Establish the hours you expect them to work and be available. Do you want them to respond within two hours to every email? One hour? Be reasonable but firm in your expectations.
  • Not enough work for everyone? Create a list of special projects you haven’t been able to get to in busier times. Does the F drive need to be cleaned out? New forms created? Policies and procedures updated? Now is the perfect opportunity to accomplish everything you have been putting off.
  • Schedule Zoom meetings with your entire staff to keep in touch. I recommend Mondays to set the priorities for the week and Thursday or Friday afternoons for the weekly recap.
  • Telecommuting means more accountability, not less. This does not mean you should suddenly turn into a micromanager, but this isn’t a free pass to no longer lead your team. Leading looks different than it did 10 days ago, but people need your leadership skills now more than ever. Lead by example. Be as available to your team as you expect them to be to you.
  • Don’t be afraid to use humor to keep up morale. (Appropriate humor, of course—I am the HR Lady, after all.)