Remote Work Policy Debate and HR Considerations

Yahoo’s 2013 ban on working from home caused a bit of controversy around remote work policies spurring debates, commentaries and coverage from leading business publications. The center of the debate rests between the value of productivity, which some argue can be increased by working from home, versus the value of creativity or innovation that others argue requires communication, collaboration and essentially working in the office.

A recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, “Is Working Remotely Sapping Your Creativity?” by Jaime Hodari points to a number of studies that indicate that creativity and idea generation is greatly influenced by social interactions we have in our everyday office life. “Bumping into coworkers, chatting in hallways, sitting down over lunch, a day at the office results in dozens of interactions everyday. The result, shown both anecdotally and in statistics, is more creativity and greater effectiveness,” writes Hodari.

Nonetheless, according to the article, “telecommuting rose 79 percent between 2005 and 2015,” pushing many businesses to adopt their own versions of a remote work policy. However, deciding where the company stands on the issue is not simple and requires thoughtful consideration of business culture, long-term strategic goals and a number of other factors. Similarly, drafting a remote work policy that reflects those considerations is another hurdle.

A Mashable article “4 Important Considerations for Creating a Remote Work Policy” offers the following advice to HR professionals and anyone who may be in charge of establishing an official remote work policy:

  1. The New Rules ­­– Remember that remote work policy rules may contradict with some of the standard employee contract rules and thus may require the remote work policy to be drafted as a separate document.
  2. Equipment and Insurance – Define the equipment and insurance the company will provide to remote employees.
  3. Expenses ­– Consider home-working allowances that the company should offer to remote employees to reimburse expenses associated with using their own home and materials for work.
  4. Security of Information – Outline the level of information security or safeguarding you expect from you remote employees when it comes to confidential documents.

Limestone students pursuing the Bachelors in Human Resource Management may encounter the question of remote work policy in their future jobs. To help students prepare for real-world HR challenges, Limestone human resource management core curriculum includes a number of course that provide students with knowledge and tools necessary for a successful career ahead. Some of the core courses include Compensation and Benefits, Staffing and Labor Relations, Performance Management and more.