The Top 20 Considerations for a Successful Remote Work Policy

the back of a female employee working from home at her desk

A palpable tension is emerging between many organizations and the desires of their workforce when it comes to remote and hybrid work arrangements. 

On one hand, a deluge of recent headlines shows big players in the business, such as Google and Tesla, summoning workers back to traditional office spaces after several years of remote work. Conversely, a growing number of employees are steadfast in their advocacy for remote or hybrid work arrangements, championing the flexibility and improved work-life balance.

Amid this divergence in viewpoints lies a significant opportunity for forward-thinking international companies. As more employees express their preference for remote or hybrid work arrangements, the talent pool available to organizations has become truly global. Skilled professionals from diverse backgrounds and geographic locations are now accessible to companies irrespective of their physical headquarters. 

By embracing remote work policies and fostering a culture of flexibility and inclusivity, organizations can position themselves as attractive employers in an increasingly competitive global marketplace where remote work has stabilized.

In this blog post, we briefly explain why a formal remote work policy is an important foundation for a successful talent management strategy for international companies with a globally distributed workforce. We also outline the top 20 considerations that a remote work policy should encompass to foster a positive remote work culture and optimize success in remote work.

Do we really need a remote work policy?

Does every organization need a remote work policy? Absolutely. 

Granting your workforce the flexibility to work remotely presents a myriad of advantages for any organization, especially those operating across international borders. However, the efficacy of such a program hinges on organization and structure. 

Whether you currently offer remote work options or plan to implement them in the future, a remote work policy is indispensable. Not only does it elucidate the parameters of your remote work program for employees, it also safeguards work-life balance for them and promotes organizational productivity. Moreover, establishing a remote work policy offers legal protection and guidance in instances of disputes or disciplinary actions against underperforming employees.

Without a solid framework in place, maintaining cohesion and productivity among team members becomes challenging. The absence of a remote framework can also put an organization at risk for regulatory compliance violations. 

A meticulously crafted remote work policy serves as the cornerstone for overcoming these challenges and fostering a thriving company culture. By delineating specific guidelines, procedures and expectations for remote workers, you mitigate confusion and cultivate a collaborative and productive environment.

What should your remote work policy cover?

We have curated a list of the top 20 essential factors to consider when crafting a formal remote work policy:

  • Clear Expectations on Working Hours: Define whether employees have flexibility in setting their work hours or if adherence to a specific schedule is required. Establish protocols for hourly employees to track their work hours accurately.
  • Communication Guidelines: Specify the frequency of team check-ins and interactions with managers. Outline preferred communication channels, such as email, chat platforms or video conferencing, to facilitate seamless collaboration.
  • Technology Standards and Usage Policies: Detail the approved tools and technologies needed for remote work, along with guidelines for their responsible usage. Address cybersecurity concerns, including VPN usage and authentication protocols. You should also provide procedures for equipment provision and replacement.
  • Remote Work Infrastructure and Technology Accessibility: Ensure equitable access to necessary infrastructure and technology tools for remote work, regardless of employees’ geographic locations. Address any challenges related to internet connectivity, hardware availability or software accessibility to promote equal opportunities for productivity and collaboration.
  • Protecting Intellectual Property and Setting Standards: Ensure the security of intellectual property (IP) by regulating device usage, enforcing data handling policies and conducting regular due diligence on the matter. By setting clear standards and providing employee training, global organizations can minimize the risk of IP theft and unauthorized access in remote work environments.
  • Compensation and Stipends for Remote Work Expenses: Clarify policies regarding compensation and stipends for remote work expenses, as many countries require additional stipends to cover costs such as equipment, internet usage, home office setup and other related expenditures. Ensure transparency and fairness in determining eligible expenses and provide guidelines for reimbursement processes.
  • Leave, Breaks and Time-off Policies: Provide clarity on procedures for taking breaks, attending meetings and requesting time off, considering the unique dynamics of remote work. Establish transparent guidelines for sick leave and accommodations for illness-related absences.
  • Compliance with Local Labor Laws and Regulations: Ensure that the remote work policy aligns with the specific legal requirements and labor regulations of each country where employees are based. Address key considerations such as employment contracts, taxation, data privacy and any jurisdiction-specific provisions governing remote work arrangements.
  • Set Parameters for Worker Mobility: Establish clear guidelines for tracking and managing worker mobility. Define parameters for determining tax liabilities and potential risks of establishing a permanent presence in certain jurisdictions. Implement procedures for obtaining necessary approvals or disclosures for remote work arrangements to ensure compliance with international tax laws and regulations. 
  • International Taxation Nuances: Navigate the complexities of international taxation by providing guidance on tax obligations for employees working remotely from different countries. Offer resources or referrals to tax advisors who can assist employees in understanding their tax liabilities and compliance requirements.
  • Support in First Language: Acknowledge the significance of linguistic diversity within your workforce. Many times, a cross-border company will communicate on daily business matters in a set language. However, organizations should strive to handle HR matters in a worker’s first language whenever feasible, fostering inclusivity, maintaining accuracy and enhancing the overall employee experience.
  • Cross-Border Collaboration and Project Management: Foster effective collaboration and project management practices that accommodate remote teams spanning multiple countries and time zones. Provide training on virtual collaboration tools, cross-cultural communication and time management strategies to optimize productivity and teamwork.
  • Global Health and Safety Standards: Establish universal health and safety protocols that comply with international standards and local regulations, as some countries may have provisions for regulating remote workspaces. Provide guidelines for creating ergonomic workspaces, promoting physical and mental wellbeing as well as addressing occupational health concerns in remote work environments.
  • Global Conflict Resolution Mechanisms: Develop comprehensive conflict resolution procedures that account for cultural differences and jurisdictional considerations. Ensure that mechanisms for resolving conflicts, disputes or grievances are fair, transparent and accessible to all employees – regardless of location.
  • Remote Work Compliance Audits and Reviews: The world of remote work is moving fast, with more regulations for remote work on the horizon. Conduct regular audits and reviews of remote work practices to ensure ongoing compliance with local regulations, organizational policies and industry standards. Solicit feedback from employees to identify areas for improvement and address emerging challenges proactively.
  • Global Performance Evaluation Metrics: Develop standardized performance evaluation metrics that account for the diverse roles, responsibilities and cultural contexts of remote employees. Implement performance appraisal processes that are fair, objective and tailored to the unique circumstances of each individual and team.
  • International Employee Engagement Initiatives: Implement initiatives to promote employee engagement and team cohesion across borders. Organize virtual team-building activities, cultural exchange events and recognition programs that foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie among remote employees worldwide. 
  • Continued Learning and Development Opportunities: Productive remote work depends on constant upskilling and digital transformation within teams. Invest in ongoing learning and development initiatives to support the professional growth and skill enhancement of remote employees. Offer access to online training resources, certification programs and virtual workshops that enable employees to expand their expertise and stay competitive in their respective fields.
  • Ongoing Policy Evaluation and Localization: Consistently review and update due diligence to keep remote work policies aligned with marketplace trends and regulatory compliance. Regularly assess the effectiveness of remote work practices through surveys and feedback mechanisms. This ongoing evaluation allows for timely adjustments and enhancements, ensuring that remote work strategies remain efficient, compliant and responsive to the evolving needs of the organization and its workforce. Additionally, leveraging HR expertise localized for different jurisdictions can help ensure compliance and alignment with cultural expectations. 

You don’t have to develop your remote work policy alone

Developing a comprehensive remote work policy may seem like a daunting task, given the multitude of factors to consider. However, getting it right is crucial for ensuring the success and sustainability of remote work initiatives within your organization. 

Remember, you don’t have to tackle this endeavor alone. Partnering with a cross-border HR services provider – especially one offering Employer of Record (EOR) hiring and remote work solutions encompassing global payroll, HR, benefits, agency of record engagement and more – can provide invaluable support. 

By leveraging expertise and resources, you can streamline the development of your remote work policy, effectively navigate regulatory complexities and drive sustainable growth and success. 

Check out GoGlobal’s Recruit & Hire solution or contact us to learn more about how our specialized cross-border HR services can help you harness the power of a globally distributed remote workforce.