A remote work plan that works
By Elizabeth Torphy-Donzella, partner at Shawe Rosenthal, LLP
When it comes to remote work, there is definitely more push from employees for policy that provides flexibility, including telecommuting for some, or even all of the work-week.
The reality is that in most jobs, in-person interaction is really critical for building relationships, clarifying assignment objectives, and developing strategies. My office at Shawe Rosenthal, LLP is very collaborative, we drop in on each other throughout the day to brainstorm.
First and foremost, employees need to understand that a business’ first focus must be its business needs. The personal desires of workers are important, but they and you should not lose sight of the fact that delivering the product or service is the point of it all.
That said, in reality many jobs can be accomplished remotely.
See some of the important ground rules Torphy-Donzella rules suggests to lay before rolling out telecommuting:
- Remote work is for work – not a solution for being home with a sick child or managing a home repair. Make clear that leave time is for these.
- Understand that when the home becomes a second work site, there are legal considerations – physical safety, implicating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, and workers compensation, and data safety. Determine how to handle these in consultation with counsel and your insurance broker.
- Determine the scope of telecommuting, how many days permitted for each employee, and coordinating so that there is coverage in the office.
- Start with a trial run and then regroup to review.
- Where implementing flexible scheduling, be mindful that for Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, purposes, each work-week stands on its own so if an employee who is overtime eligible is permitted to make up time in a second work-week, you may incur overtime if the hours exceed 40.
- Finally, consider whether certain jobs are not telecommuting or flex-time eligible given the duties and decide how to manage the morale issues of the “haves” and “have nots.”