Managing Remote Employees recently published research that shows more than 80% of the US workforce would like to be able to work remotely at least part of the time. The remote workforce is growing. In recent blogs we asked the question “Can Remote Workers Benefit Your Business?” and helped provide some guidance on “Finding Rockstar Remote Employees”. In today’s blog, we will talk about managing remote workers and the responsibility a company has to those workers.

Being an Effective Manager…from a Distance: Effective two-way communication between manager and remote employee is paramount. Since you are not seeing that employee daily, clear expectations need to be set regarding work hours and productivity. You may have an “open-door” policy with your employees in the office, but it is equally important to be accessible to your remote employees. Use technology to your advantage. Video calls, texting, and/or group chats can all be used to facilitate communication when an employee is working remotely. If the employee works part-time in the office, schedule time for face to face meetings to check in. If the employee is remote full-time have a scheduled time to talk (ideally weekly)…and stick to it! Working remotely can be isolating, so recognize that you need to make an effort to get to know your remote employee similar to how you get to know the people who work in the office with you.

Responsibilities: Companies have a responsibility to their employees to provide a safe work environment. So how does that apply to remote workers? OSHA has stated that it will not inspect home offices for safety for those performing standard office work. Many remote workers have their own work stations set up, so the employer is under no obligation to provide desks or chairs. However, the requirements under the Americans Disability Act (ADA) still apply, so you may need to make reasonable accommodations to those employees who request them.

Know the Laws: Having remote employees requires some planning and advice. If you have remote employees that are not residing in the state your business is in you need to be aware of the different state employment and tax laws that may come into play. There is no definitive law requiring employers to provide remote employees with the same types of postings that would be on location in your office, but best practice would be to provide that information electronically. This would also apply to sharing the employee handbook.

If you decide that a remote workforce makes sense for your company, knowing the rules and regulations to follow as well as the best practices for managing those employees will help you set up a successful new avenue for your workforce and recruitment. Contact De Novo HRConsulting for implementation assistance!

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