How Do HR Policies Adapt to Accommodate Remote Work?

    Authored By

    CHRO Daily

    How Do HR Policies Adapt to Accommodate Remote Work?

    In the shift to remote work, HR leaders and company executives have had to pivot their policies to maintain productivity and employee well-being. From establishing clear remote work guidelines to equipping employees for secure remote work, we've gathered eleven insightful experiences. HR Managers and CEOs share their successful strategies and the outcomes of adapting HR policies for a remote workforce.

    • Rework Multiple Policies for Holistic Change
    • Measuring Performance Output Creates Happier Team
    • Remote Work Creates Savings and Wider Talent Pool
    • Establish Trust and Respect Employee Boundaries
    • Simple Remote Work Guidelines Aid Productivity
    • Dedicated Virtual Social Time Increases Morale
    • Communicate Effectively with Online Tools
    • Introduce Remote Technology Stipend
    • Structured Communications Boost Remote Productivity
    • Robust Virtual Onboarding Fosters Team Unity
    • Strong IT Support Resolves Issues Quickly

    Rework Multiple Policies for Holistic Change

    HR policies adapt to accommodate remote work by establishing clear guidelines for remote-work expectations, updating technology policies to address cybersecurity and data protection, introducing flexible work arrangements to promote work-life balance, revising performance management processes to focus on outcomes rather than hours worked, developing communication guidelines for effective virtual collaboration, enhancing remote onboarding and training programs, providing wellness and mental health support tailored to remote employees' needs, establishing policies for remote expense reimbursement, ensuring compliance with relevant labor laws and data privacy regulations, and continuously seeking feedback to iterate and improve remote work policies.

    Dhara Gajjar
    Dhara GajjarHR Manager

    Measuring Performance Output Creates Happier Team

    As a business leader, navigating the transition to remote work presented both challenges and opportunities, particularly in adapting HR policies to this new paradigm. Recognizing the importance of flexibility and team member well-being, our organization swiftly revised existing HR policies to align with the remote work model. This involved redefining performance metrics to focus more on output rather than hours logged, implementing transparent communication channels to foster virtual collaboration, and prioritizing mental health support initiatives. Additionally, we introduced flexible work schedules to accommodate diverse team member needs, ensuring a healthy work-life balance in the remote environment.

    The outcomes of these adaptations were notable. Team member satisfaction and engagement levels surged, as individuals appreciated the newfound autonomy and flexibility afforded by remote work arrangements. Productivity remained high, if not improved, with employees reporting fewer distractions and more focused work periods. The expansion of remote work capabilities broadened our talent pool, enabling us to recruit top-tier candidates irrespective of geographical constraints.

    However, challenges such as maintaining a cohesive company culture and combating feelings of isolation among remote employees emerged. To address these, we intensified efforts to foster a sense of community through virtual team-building activities and regular check-ins.

    The strategic adjustments made to HR policies not only facilitated a smooth transition to remote work, but also positioned our organization for sustained success in an increasingly digitized landscape.

    Bradford Glaser
    Bradford GlaserPresident & CEO, HRDQ

    Remote Work Creates Savings and Wider Talent Pool

    About a year ago, my company transitioned to fully remote work. This change has largely been met with enthusiasm from our staff, as it has allowed them more personal time. Additionally, we have seen financial savings as a company since we discontinued renting physical office space. This shift has not only reduced our operational costs, but also made our employees happier by providing them with greater flexibility.

    Moreover, this move to remote work has enabled us to tap into a wider talent pool. We are no longer limited to hiring candidates who are within commuting distance of an office, which has significantly broadened our hiring options. We have been able to attract better specialists, who may not have been available to us under the traditional office setup.

    Martin Potocki
    Martin PotockiCEO, Jobera

    Establish Trust and Respect Employee Boundaries

    The rise of remote work and constant connectivity has blurred the lines between work and personal life. This can lead to a culture where employees are always expected to be available.

    Respecting employee boundaries is a core principle. We believe that a clear separation between work and personal life is essential for long-term success, boosting productivity, loyalty, and employee passion. While this is especially important for remote teams, it also applies to traditional work environments.

    We’re a 100% global remote team. We know that talented people live across all corners of our wonderful planet, and we unlock these unique humans to contribute from wherever they choose. We also don't believe in strict clocking in and out—we trust our team members to work through their hours at their convenience, all while delivering exceptional work across different time zones.

    Jamie Frew
    Jamie FrewCEO, Carepatron

    Simple Remote Work Guidelines Aid Productivity

    Our company faced unexpected challenges when we swiftly adjusted our HR policies for remote work. We crafted clear guidelines for working from home. Initially, everyone in the office was reluctant, because it was a big and sudden change. There were concerns about productivity and communication.

    Soon, however, we discovered the benefits of flexibility and autonomy. Employees adapted to the new HR policies quickly, and meetings shifted to virtual platforms. Surprisingly, productivity did not suffer—in fact, it flourished. With fewer distractions and more control over the environment, employees achieved impressive results.

    We kept the HR policies simple and short so that everyone could understand them. Moreover, we allowed our employees to communicate effectively with the leaders so that they could get solutions to their queries quickly.

    Saikat Ghosh
    Saikat GhoshAssociate Director of HR & Business, Technource

    Dedicated Virtual Social Time Increases Morale

    Like many companies around the world, we had to adapt our HR policies quickly to accommodate remote work when the pandemic hit. We wanted to ensure that our team felt supported, connected, and productive, despite the sudden shift.

    One of our most significant changes was implementing a "Virtual Office Hours" policy. This concept was inspired by our open-door policy in our physical office. We scheduled specific times throughout the week when managers would be available for spontaneous virtual drop-ins. This allowed team members to discuss concerns, share ideas, or simply catch up, mimicking the casual interactions we'd typically have in the office.

    To further support this initiative, we also introduced "Digital Watercooler" sessions. These were informal, team-wide video calls where employees could join in and chat about non-work-related topics. It provided a space for social interaction and helped maintain our team camaraderie.

    The outcome of these adaptations was remarkable. We noticed a significant increase in employee engagement and morale. Our team reported feeling more connected and supported despite the physical distance.

    Productivity levels remained high, and we saw a boost in creative problem-solving as employees felt more comfortable reaching out and collaborating in these new formats.

    Laurie Hyllberg
    Laurie HyllbergVice President, Kinsa Group

    Communicate Effectively with Online Tools

    In this fast-paced technological world, we had to quickly adapt our HR policies to support remote work. Recently, we renewed our policies to allow for full-time remote work, instead of just occasional telecommuting. We enabled tools like Jira, Notion, and Google Workspace to facilitate communication and collaboration across remote teams.

    According to the new policy, we provide stipends for employees who need to take a course that could benefit the company. We also have a co-buying equipment policy to help them work remotely. The company offers virtual training programs to help managers lead remote teams effectively. We even modified our performance review process to focus more on goals and outputs, instead of time spent at the office.

    These policy changes helped us transition to remote work with minimal disruption. Productivity remained high, and employee satisfaction increased, as people appreciated the flexibility of working from home. We saw that remote work can be just as effective if set up properly. The experience has made us reconsider the role of the physical office going forward, and how we can create a flexible work environment.

    Divyank Jain
    Divyank JainCXO, Mitt Arv

    Introduce Remote Technology Stipend

    With the outbreak of the pandemic, we understood that remote working would become the new normal, and our HR policies had to undergo a change.

    We initiated a Remote Technology Allowance, where our employees were provided with money to help set up an effective workspace at their homes. The move not only helped in providing a helping hand to our workforce in the purchase of essentials like ergonomic chairs and second monitors, but it also helped us increase our morale and productivity levels.

    Consequently, we witnessed a sharp rise in our job satisfaction levels, and our employee attrition fell. The ability to make adjustments to the situation quickly helped our operations to run smoothly, and our workforce believed that they were being valued and cared for. We learned a lot from all the experiences, and the pandemic created an eye-opener for us as to how important flexibility and care for employees is in the modern world.

    Sandra Malouf
    Sandra MaloufPresident, Eurolog Packing Group

    Structured Communications Boost Remote Productivity

    Adapting our HR policies to accommodate remote work has been an integral part of our strategy, ensuring that we remain effective and responsive to our team's needs in a changing work environment. One significant adaptation occurred when we first transitioned to a fully remote environment.

    We needed to revise our communication policies to ensure clarity and consistency across different time zones, so we implemented structured daily check-ins and asynchronous communication protocols, utilizing tools like Toggl Track to help manage and record these interactions. This ensured everyone was on the same page, regardless of their physical location.

    The outcome of implementing structured communications was overwhelmingly positive. It led to increased productivity and team cohesion. Team members reported feeling more connected and informed about the company’s operations, and their roles within them. The clarity and consistency in communication also reduced misunderstandings, and streamlined project management.

    Alari Aho
    Alari AhoCEO and Founder, Toggl Inc

    Robust Virtual Onboarding Fosters Team Unity

    As the owner of a recruiting platform, the shift to remote work prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic was not without its hurdles. One such instance was when a significant portion of our workforce had to relocate due to personal reasons, which posed challenges in maintaining team cohesion and continuity of operations.

    To address this, we introduced a robust virtual onboarding process to ensure that new hires could integrate smoothly into the company culture, regardless of their location. This process included virtual meet-and-greets, detailed online training modules, and mentorship programs facilitated through digital platforms.

    We also encouraged virtual social events, to build camaraderie among team members. These initiatives were crucial in maintaining a strong, unified company culture. The outcomes were profoundly positive, with a marked increase in employee retention rates and a stronger sense of community within the team. This period underscored the importance of proactive HR strategies, and the potential for remote work to create an inclusive and dynamic work environment.

    Amit Doshi
    Amit DoshiFounder & CEO, MyTurn

    Strong IT Support Resolves Issues Quickly

    When COVID-19 hit, we quickly changed our HR policies to accommodate remote work. We equipped our employees with essential tools like VPNs and collaboration software, ensuring smooth communication and secure access to our systems. We also made our attendance policies more flexible to account for the challenges of working from home.

    To keep everyone engaged and motivated, we implemented regular virtual check-ins. We moved our training programs online so that development could continue without interruption. We also created a strong IT support system to resolve technical issues swiftly. These changes kept productivity up, made employees happy, and helped us attract remote workers.

    Ace Zhuo
    Ace ZhuoBusiness Development Director (Sales and Marketing), Tech & Finance Expert, TradingFXVPS