Pre-COVID-19, approximately 4.7 million workers were completely remote. Certainly, some industries are more comfortable with the technology necessary to support remote work. Now, as millions of Americans work from home, the next shift in the American workplace may be the increase and permanency of employees working from home.

Is your business ready?

These are some considerations:

  • Non-compete agreements: Do your agreements account for the fact that employees are working from home? Consider revising your territorial description to account for this.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Leave: Do you know that FMLA regulations anticipate a remote workforce and explain how to count employees when determining whether a remote employee is eligible for leave?
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Do your job descriptions identify reporting to a job site as an essential function? Is it really an essential function? Has it been during the last few months? Have you considered providing accommodation to employees who work from home?
  • Managing remote employees: Your supervisors likely have received a crash course over the last few months on the differences associated with managing remote employees. Train your managers to guide them on the challenges (g., maintaining productivity, sustaining morale, and upholding discipline) unique to their remote employees.
  • Wage and hour compliance: Do you have a procedure in place for monitoring how much employees are working from home? When do they start and stop working? Your obligation to track time for non-exempt workers exists even if they are remote.
  • Data security and privacy: Do you issue laptops to remote employees? Make sure to clearly state who can use them and for what purpose while they are in remote employees’ homes. If you allow remote employees to use their personal computers for work, then establish parameters for blending business and personal items on their computers and accessing your network and systems from their personal computers. If your data security procedures were not established with a remote workforce in mind, then it is time to reconsider them.

Look for more information in the coming weeks on each of these topics.