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  • Jody McLeod

Compliance and the Remote Worker

As we are all aware, the pandemic has resulted in many employees having to work remotely and many employers trying to figure out compliance around it.

This has been a great adjustment for both the workers and management on how to meet the needs of the company in a timely and competent manner that remains compliant.

The following are just some of the areas that companies like yours needs to review and consider making some changes to maintain compliance:

  • Have you supplied the right tools for your workers to enable them to work remotely? Make sure your business has sufficiently evaluated what tools are needed for your employees in order to work at an appropriate level. Think about computers, laptops, headsets, ergonomic desks/chairs and whether the employee has adequate phone and internet capabilities.

  • Are your workers correctly classified? Do you have workers that are classified as exempt, non-exempt or independent contractor? Companies must treat them differently when they are remote. Exempt employees: make sure you are respectful of their work/life balance and don't unwittingly abuse exempt employees because of increased workloads or your company has experienced a decrease in employee-levels. Non-exempt employees: must be paid for all time worked and paid overtime (if worked) as required by either federal or applicable state laws. Independent contractors: are workers who are not your employees however, make sure that their classification is in fact correct and can be supported if the government comes calling to challenge it.

  • Do you have a Remote Work policy (RWP)? Companies should create a RWP that set out clear expectations for the remote worker. It should address the company's expectations related to the work environment, work hours, leave notification and general communication processes including supervisor meetings and employee performance metrics and assessment. No one should be surprised nor state 'Oh, I didn't know'.

  • Is your company data secure? Remote work can result in potential data breaches related to your company's sensitive data. Make sure your technology is updated and secure, your processes around data protection are updated and that your workers are trained on how to maintain good information security habits in a remote work environment.

  • Has management of a remote workforce evolved in order to be effective? Management of the remote worker is very different from managing an onsite worker. Flexibility, organization and clear expectations are essential for success to be realized. Managers should avoid micromanaging or policing workers. A manager should have frequent and consistent employee check-ins to address issues as they occur. Trust between the employee and manager must exist for the realization of success.

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