Remote Startup: Part 2 - Policy & Tools
In Part 1, we walked through the legalities and logistics to set you up as a remote based company. In this article, we'll look at how you can crystallise all those decisions in a clear remote working policy for your team. Whether you’re shifting gears to become remote or starting from scratch, it’s vital to provide clarity to your employees on your rules and expectations.
By now, you should already have a clear stance on the following questions:
- Who can work remotely
- Expectations of working hours
- Acceptable communication channels
- Best practices to follow
- Security requirements
- Technical support options
- Guidelines to set up work environments
- Legal rights of remote employees
- How to measure productivity
To ensure everyone is onboard with your company’s ways of working, document these answers in a policy which can be shared, referenced and discussed.
How to write a remote working policy
To help you get started, we’ve mapped out the most important sections you’ll need to include when crafting an exhaustive and clear policy:
This section explains why the company is adopting the policy, for how long (some companies might decide to test it only for a limited time), and who it applies to.
Here you can outline expectations of working hours, location (which could be an office or an entire country for example), legal and other general terms.
Tools + Support
If you are providing a laptop, a VPN, a phone or a reimbursement for their internet connection, give any relevant details here. This is also the place for IT support information and any other type of support (legal, HR, admin, etc.) they might require.
This involves both the security of your employees’ physical offices (such as code to open doors, swipe pass required, etc.) and the cybersecurity protocol they should follow to keep company data and infrastructure protected.
Clarify the frequency in which employees should communicate, the lines of comms and the channels they should use — i.e. they should be available to respond within two hours to Slack messages and check in with their line manager at least once a day.
All expectations around meeting attendance and etiquette should be clearly outlined in the policy. Employees should also know the process to follow in case they can’t attend a meeting: who to notify, using what channel, latest acceptable notice, etc.
At the end of the document, don’t forget to link to any other relevant policy: Social Media, HR, Leave, Reimbursement, etc.
Frequently asked questions
It may be helpful to include answers to common questions that may come up. Here’s 20 to get you started:
- Where can I find the Remote Working policy?
- What does ‘remote’ working mean at [company name]?
- Who can work remotely?
- Do I need approval to work remotely?
- Can I work from anywhere in the world?
- Do I need to inform HR if I am travelling?
- Will my salary change if I move further away from one of our existing city locations?
- Can I work from anywhere in the world?
- What are the expectations to meet my team?
- What if I want to go into the office?
- Can I work from a co-working space?
- How important is it that people in leadership positions visit the teams in person?
- Is there a minimum expectation to meet my team in person?
- Will [company] pay for my “work from home” set up?
- What if my internet is not reliable?
- Will we target specific locations with our hiring strategy?
- Is there a risk that we’ll hire employees who choose to have the minimum in-person time, that do not “pull their weight”?
- Are there plans to change our existing office space to reflect these changes?
- Am I expected to be online and available all the time?
- How can I share feedback about the policy?
Sharing this with your team
Your remote working policy should be easily accessible to all your team members.
If you’re using a HR system, make sure to upload these documents on it. Remember to include the version number or the date of last edit to keep track if you’ll need to make updates further down the line.
We’ve converted the above into Notion pages to help get you started. Access them here:
While we’re on the topic of tools, we’ve handpicked a few of our favourites for remote based teams.
So far, you’ve sorted out the legal and logistical aspects of your remote company and have documented it in a clear policy for your staff. Part 3 of this playbook goes through the ideas, considerations and resources for building thriving remote teams.