As current news headlines in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal demonstrate, as businesses move beyond COVID, many workplaces are struggling between the company’s desire for workers to return full-time (or primarily) to working in-person and employees’ desire to work remotely.
While there is no one size fits all solution, and each business needs to determine whether it will utilize a fully in-person, remote, or hybrid work model, there are certain advantages and risks to using remote workers.
With remote workers, employers are not limited to a geographic area and, thus, have access to a larger pool of talent.
Remote worker can save employers on the cost of traditional office expenses, such as rent for office space.
Some remote workers report higher productivity levels, as they can work without the distractions that sometimes occur in a traditional workplace.
Remote workers often have more control over their schedules, which can lead to a better work-life balance, and happier employees.
Remote workers may not have the same level of communication as in-person workers, which can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications.
Remote workers may not feel as connected to the team, which can lead to a lack of team cohesion and a weaker company culture.
It can be difficult to monitor the work of remote workers, which can lead to issues or concerns with quality and productivity.
Remote workers may use unsecured networks or devices, which can increase the risk of security breaches and data theft.
Different jurisdictions have different tax and employment laws, so a business can end up having to comply with laws that differ from the ones applicable to employees working in the company’s physical office.
For businesses that do decide to utilize remote workers, there are steps that can be taken to reduce these risks. First, the business needs clear policies governing remote work. These policies should set forth expected work hours, time keeping requirements, acceptable use of technology, and technology security requirements. The remote work arrangement should also be memorialized in a telecommuting / work from home agreement that confirms the employee’s need to follow company policies and related matters. Second, businesses need to become familiar with the applicable laws of the jurisdiction in which its employees work remotely.
While many businesses struggle with remote workers, businesses that work with knowledgeable counsel to plan and implement formal work from home policies, tend to have much more success with it.
If you have questions about permitting your employees to work remotely, please schedule a complimentary consultation through our online scheduling system.
Information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or opinion. You should consult with an attorney regarding the specifics of your matter or legal issue.