What is a Work-From-Home Policy? (Plus What to Look For)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A work-from-home policy is a document or contract that clearly states the agreement between the employer and the remote team member. The policy can include information like how many hours you work, how you complete tasks and the channels you can use for communication. If you work from home or you want to, learning more about what work-from-home policies include can be beneficial. In this article, we explain what work-from-home policies are, what to look for in them, the benefits of working from home and tips for working from home effectively.

Related: How to Practise Gratitude While Working Remotely

What is a work-from-home policy?

Learning the answer to what is a work-from-home policy? can help you navigate working remotely better. A work-from-home policy is a document that contains expectations for remote team members. It also provides information about procedures and security.

Elements to look for in work-from-home policies

If you work from home or you want to, it's important to read the work-from-home policy to ensure you follow procedures properly and adhere to regulations. Your employer can set clear expectations for remote workers in the policy and provide important information and resources. These are some elements to look for in a work-from-home policy:

Who can work from home

Since not all professionals can work effectively without supervision, it's important to know who can work at home. When reading the work-from-home policy, locate a section that defines which positions are eligible for remote work. If you're applying for a role, this can help you ensure the position you want can work from home. If the position isn't on the list, consider communicating with the hiring manager to determine if it may be an option.

Expectations for remote workers

While reading the policy, determine if the employer provides clear expectations for what remote workers contribute. This can include the hours you work each week or month, how to stay in contact with your team and which meetings you attend each week. This section might include reasonable quotas and deadlines for your work and explains what may happen if you don't meet them. Look for the employer to set clear expectations for time and task tracking, efficient communication and accountability.

Related: How to Search for Remote Work on Indeed

Established communication methods

Because remote employment doesn't allow for face-to-face communication, it's important that the employer provides alternate ways to help remote professionals communicate, such as video chat, virtual meetings, group conferencing, phone, email and instant messaging. There are several tools and software available for collaboration, conferencing and virtual communication. Effective policies include information about which tools they provide, how to use them and the credentials you can use to access them. It can also be helpful when the policy includes information about alternative communications if systems fail.

Procedures for digital security

Remote professionals work in a digital capacity, so it's important that the policy outlines digital security. It can include information about how team members who use their own devices can avoid bringing viruses to the company network. It can provide guidelines for avoiding downloads, applications and files that have hidden malware. The policy can include information about the IT department and how to contact them. The policy can also include the procedure the company follows to ensure that every device with access to the company network has sufficient-level protection, such as firewalls or anti-virus software.

In the work-from-home policy, look for information about basic security policies. For example, look for information about setting secure passwords, avoiding public wireless connections and logging off. The company may provide information about using VPNs that provide a secure channel for remote employees. It's also important to offer IT support and ensure they have a way to communicate with the IT department.

Covered expenses for remote staff

As a remote team member, you may purchase your own supplies to use for company work. Though you may save money on transportation costs, you can face higher expenses for purchases like high-speed Internet, phone bills and energy usage. You may also purchase items like home office software, equipment like lights or computers and furniture like a desk or comfortable chair. Look for information in the work-from-home policy to see which expenses the company offer to reimburse. You can also look for information about how to track and report the expenses you have for work-related items or services.

How the approval process works

A good work-from-home policy includes information about how the approval process works. It explains how you can qualify for and take advantage of work-from-home privileges. If you're currently an employee, this section of the policy can help you understand how to apply for remote work, how long the approval process takes and what you can expect. This section can also describe which actions may suspend your privileges and how you may earn them back.

Related: 15 Work From Home Benefits (With Potential Challenges)

Additional work-from-home policy components

An effective policy includes information that's useful to you and clearly defines expectations. These are some components to look for in a remote work contract:

  • Working hours: Describe the working hours for the organisation by explaining when you open and close and how often the team member is available.

  • Timekeeping: Supply log-in information for time-tracking tools and define expectations for hourly contribution.

  • Additional resources: A good policy can include information about resources you can use to improve your remote working.

  • Remote events: If the company has an established calendar for remote events, like social opportunities or meetings, the policy may include information about where to find the schedule or include the schedule itself.

Related: How to Stay Focused When You Work from Home

Benefits of working from home

If your employer offers work-from-home, it can be beneficial to take advantage of the option. If you're looking for jobs, you may prefer companies with remote options over those without. These are some of the benefits of working from home:

Improved independence

When you work from home, you may develop a strong sense of independence and accountability. This allows you to build your skills and operate more efficiently. Companies with effective work-from-home policies can help you self-manage while meeting quotas and completing tasks. If you enjoy creating your own schedule and managing your tasks, many remote work programmes can allow you to do so.

Promote happiness

Remote work itself can increase your happiness, as you can spend more time with your family, adjust your tasks to fit your schedule and maintain a better work-life balance. Working from home can also improve your happiness by reducing commute times and offering more opportunities for hobbies and self-care. When your employer offers a clear remote contract, it can improve your happiness by offering structure and guidance.

Avoid absenteeism

Remote work can help you avoid missing days from work because it allows you to adjust your workdays to their other tasks, like appointments and family obligations. Issues like late public transportation and car maintenance don't impact your ability to work remotely, allowing you to miss fewer days for these things, too. If your happiness and satisfaction increase because of remote work, you may also feel more motivated to have great attendance at work.

Related: 40 Best Online Jobs to Help You Achieve a Work-Life Balance

Tips for working from home effectively

Here are some tips to help you work from home more efficiently:

  • Establish schedules: Creating a schedule for yourself can help you stay on task and complete your projects on time. Consider waking up at the same time each day, wearing professional clothes and tracking your time to create effective work-from-home schedules.

  • Use collaboration tools: Video calling, collaborative editing and gamification applications are all useful tools that allow a remote team to collaborate with one another. Take advantage of all the collaboration tools the company offers for remote team members.

  • Attend meetings: Meeting every morning to discuss the daily schedule or once a week to review progress and plans for the upcoming week, can help you stay current on information and projects. If meetings are optional, it's a good idea to attend them regularly to improve your understanding of projects and your tasks.

  • Attend online social events: Online trivia events or social hours can provide a space for you to create and maintain professional relationships. These events are usually optional, but it's a good idea to attend and build relationships with your colleagues.

  • Take advantage of health resources: If your employer offers free programmes for fitness or online counselling services, it can be beneficial to take advantage of them as they encourage you to keep in good health.