As the CDC, WHO, and states roll out new best practices and restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 global pandemic, more and more organizations are looking at ways to implement a work-from-home initiative for their employees to help flatten the curve and slow the spread. The problem is, between lacking the proper technology and policies, and employees never working remotely before, most companies aren’t prepared to enable remote work at scale. And to succeed, you need a remote work policy.
Remote Work Policies or BYOO
At Tigunia, we’re a Bring Your Own Office (BYOO) Workforce, and we have been since our inception. We know how to operate in a remote world, and with growing concerns for employee well-being, we are here to help other organizations do the same.
For your initiative to be successful, you need to have clear expectations for your employees. Rolling out a BYOO Policy is meant as an extension of the acceptable computer and systems use policy your organization likely already has in place. It’s an agreement that outlines when and how employees can work from somewhere other than their traditional office. And it’s a way to ensure company guidelines are being adhered to while remaining as productive as possible. These policies can be temporary or permanent. They include best practices, legal rights, and specific expectations surrounding working outside of an office setting.
Since we have been working with a BYOO (Bring Your Own Office) policy for years, we thought we would offer some insight to help build a solid foundation for your organization’s new BYOO policy.
Questions to consider as you create your own BYOO policy:
- Will this policy be temporary or permanent?
- Will the ability to work remotely apply to all employees?
- Do your employees need to be logged in/available during specific hours?
- Will video conferencing take the place of in-person meetings? If so, will company dress codes apply? Will calling in for meetings be sufficient?
- Will overtime be allowed?
- Will employees be using company-issued or personally-owned devices?
- What are your approved communication tools?
- What guidelines, regulations, or compliance requirements do you have for data governance?
- What applications and tools do you need to facilitate business operations remotely? Do you need a method for remote delivery of your core business applications/Line of Business (LOB) applications?
- What new security concerns do you need to address, and does your security policy cover the new scenario? Specifically, do you have appropriate endpoint security measures in place to protect your users, business operations, data, and client PII (Personally Identifiable Information)?
- What state employment laws do you need to take into consideration? Make sure your company is legally compliant.
- What course of action will be in place for employees that do not follow the policy?
After you have addressed the questions above, you will have a better understanding of what’s essential to include in your policy. Be specific, clear, and concise to help avoid confusion and potential legal and/or HR issues.
Your BYOO Policy should include the following sections:
Purpose: The purpose of most of the BYOO policies that will be generated in the near-term will be to outline rules and requirements around connecting to your organization’s network remotely. The policy is in place to maximize employee productivity and minimize potential security threats and damages caused by unauthorized use of company resources. Damages can include exposure or loss of confidential and/or sensitive information, damage to company image, IP, data, internal systems, and any other potential risks unique to your organization.
Scope: The scope clearly outlines who your policy applies to – both internally and externally, as well as what devices (company- or personally-owned), and the access-types are used to connect to and engage in remote work activities on your company’s behalf. This section is also where you will address whether the ability to work remotely will be permanent or temporary. If temporary, be sure to include an end-date.
Policy: This is where you will outline specific expectations and requirements. Refer back to your answers to questions 6-10 listed above.
- Outline the remote access connection options.
- Address how employees are to are remote-in to their network.
- Outline the virus-protection requirements when using a personally owned device. State whether the company provide free virus-protection.
Any application information from your organization’s “Acceptable Use Policy” can also be used in this section. Outside of specific device and security call-outs, use this section to outline working hours, and video conferencing/meeting expectations. This would also be an excellent spot to remind employees that company-owned devices are for employee use only, not family and friends. And if using a personally-owned device, make sure you log out of your remote access completely before stepping away from your machine.
Compliance: Use this section to outline how your company intends to ensure employees are adhering to the policy, how any exceptions to the policy will be handled, and disciplinary action that will be taken should an employee breach the policy
Acknowledgement Have your employees review and sign an acknowledgment form stating they have read, understand, and will adhere to the new policy before they begin their remote work. Keep a copy in their employee file.
Creating a Remote Work Culture
To make the most of your BYOO initiative, consider sending along an outline of best practices that will help set your employees up for success on day one. Some employees may be uncomfortable transitioning to a fully-remote work scenario but giving them the tools and resources necessary to be successful will result in a more productive environment for everyone. Be available, use verified tools and technologies, and understand that there will be challenges rolling this policy, as there are with every major change.
While we can’t write your Remote Work Policy for you, we can get you started. We can also help you set-up, deploy and audit your BYOO initiative with our 6-Month FREE use of our Remote Access Tool. The offer includes 1-hour of free consultation and 1-hour of free training. And while we cannot write your policy for you – we’re not legal advocates – we can help guide you in the process, and get your technology in lock step with your corporate needs.
Learn more about Tigunia’s Remote Access Offer