How to create a remote work policy (+ template)

Table of contents

Working from home is becoming more popular, even though some companies are asking their employees to come back to the office. ABS data from August 2023 shows that more than one-third of Australians work from home regularly, up five percentage points from pre-pandemic levels. Some companies are mixing remote and in-office work, which is known as hybrid work, while others are going fully remote. Either way, it's important to have a clear remote work policy so that everyone knows what's expected. In this post, we'll explain what a remote work policy is, why it's important, and how to make one that works well.

What is a remote work policy?

At Tability, we embrace the future of work by operating as a fully remote team. We recognise that remote work offers numerous benefits, such as increased flexibility, improved work-life balance, and access to a global talent pool. Having a remote work environment also makes more sense financially, as we’re a small startup that must be lean. We have a remote work policy in place to ensure everyone on our team knows what's expected of them. It covers everything from how we communicate with each other to what tech and tools we need to use. We want to make sure everyone has the support they need to be productive and efficient while working remotely.

A remote work policy is like a roadmap that tells everyone what they need to do, how to do it best, and what they're responsible for. Just like a travel guidebook helps tourists explore a new city by giving them essential info, tips, and recommendations, a remote work policy helps team members understand how to work and collaborate effectively while being in different locations.

Why is a remote work policy important?

Having a clear remote work policy can help remote workers stay productive, connected to their team and the company's goals, and engaged. It also covers important things like how to communicate, what tech to use, how to keep data safe, and how to manage performance. Having a remote work policy also shows that the company is flexible and adaptable, which can help attract and keep top talent. By creating a clear framework for remote work, companies can create a positive, supportive work environment that benefits everyone.

How to create an effective remote work policy (+ template)

Creating an effective remote work policy involves several key steps:

1. Assess your business needs in your remote work policy

To make remote work work for your business, you need to carefully assess your needs. Look at your team structure, what kind of work your remote and hybrid employees do, and other unique requirements of your organisation. By getting a clear picture of these, you can create a remote work policy that aligns with your goals and helps your teams do their best work.

Start by considering your overall objectives and strategies and how remote work can help you achieve them. Figure out what key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics are important for measuring your remote work program's success, such as productivity levels, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and financial impact. By defining your business requirements, you can create a remote work policy that supports your vision and drives positive results.

2. Define eligibility criteria in your remote work policy

If you're thinking about making a remote work policy, you should make it clear who can work remotely. You need to set some guidelines to decide who's eligible, so you can align your business objectives and make sure productivity stays high.

To figure out who can work remotely, first look at what they do. Some roles are better suited to remote work than others. Think about how much freedom they need, how often they need to meet people in person, and if they need special equipment or resources that they can't get remotely. For example, positions that involve direct, in-person interaction with customers, such as sales or customer service reps, may not be suitable for remote work, whereas roles that can be done independently with fewer in-person interactions could work well.

Another thing to look at is how well the person has performed in the past. Check if they've been good at meeting deadlines, delivering high-quality work, and staying productive. People who have shown they can be trusted, work hard, and can work independently are often a good fit for remote work. Being able to work independently is key. Remote workers need to be good at managing their time, staying focused, and being motivated without someone watching over them. 

There are some other factors you may choose to consider when deciding whether an employee is suitable for remote work, including:

  • Length of tenure: People who have worked with the company for a while and know how things work are more suited to remote work than those who are relatively new and learning the ropes.
  • Job level: Remote work eligibility may vary depending on the job level. For instance, top-level positions that require a lot of brainstorming and collaboration may have different remote work options compared to entry-level roles.
  • Team dynamics: Think about how working remotely can affect the way your team works together and communicates. Ask yourself if someone working remotely might make it harder for the team to stay connected or get things done.

It's important to have clear and fair rules for remote work. Don't base your remote work policy on what people like or don’t like. Instead, make sure you've got some real criteria that are based on the job, how well people are doing, and what the business needs. Make sure everyone knows what the rules are and how they're set. Managers and HR reps need to be fair and objective when they're making decisions.

3. Set guidelines around communication and collaboration in your remote work policy

Having clear communication and collaboration guidelines is a must for remote workers. These guidelines will help keep remote employees connected, informed, and aligned with their team and organisation's goals. 

You can start by setting up preferred channels for different types of communication. For instance, you can use instant messaging when you need to ask a quick question or give an update, while email is more appropriate when you need to communicate something formal or detailed. It's also important to set expectations for response times and encourage remote employees to let others know if they can't reply right away.

Regular check-ins and meetings are crucial for maintaining collaboration and alignment within remote teams. You can schedule team meetings and regular one-on-one check-ins with managers to provide guidance, feedback, and support. Collaborative tools like shared documents or project management platforms can facilitate real-time collaboration and information sharing.

Encourage open communication and transparency, and promote a culture of seeking support or advice. Make sure to tailor communication and collaboration guidelines to the specific needs of your team, and ask for feedback regularly to identify areas for improvement. Lastly, make sure these guidelines are clearly documented and easily accessible to all remote employees, and provide training and resources to help them understand and follow these guidelines.

4. Address technology and security requirements in your remote work policy

Make sure your remote employees have everything they need to work effectively and securely. Give them the right tools, equipment, and security measures. First, find out what hardware and software they need to get their work done. This might include laptops, smartphones, headsets, communication platforms, project management software, and other applications. Be clear about what specifications and configurations these devices should have, so they work at their best. By having a standardised system, it's easier to provide support.

Remember, you need to keep your company's sensitive information safe and secure. Establish some rules and guidelines to protect it, and make sure everyone knows what to do. Virtual private networks (VPNs) are a good option here. They encrypt internet traffic and keep remote access to company resources safe. Give your employees training and tips on how to stay safe online, like how to avoid phishing scams, handle sensitive information securely, and report security incidents. Remind them regularly about these things, so they stay aware of their responsibilities and the consequences of any breaches or non-compliance.

5. Define performance expectations in your remote work policy

It’s important to provide remote workers with clear goals, deadlines, and metrics to measure their success. To make this happen, communicate what you expect from them in terms of specific tasks, projects and deliverables, and let them know how their work contributes to the bigger picture.

When you set deadlines, think about how much time each task would realistically take and if any other factors could impact the timeline. Make sure to remind them regularly so they can stay on track. If there are any issues or delays, encourage them to communicate openly and address the problem proactively.

To evaluate performance, establish clear performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Productivity levels, quality of work, customer satisfaction, response times, or project completion rates are some of the metrics you can use. It's important to track people’s progress against these performance metrics regularly. You can use time-tracking software or project management platforms to do this. Give your remote teams access to these metrics so they can self-monitor their performance and identify areas for improvement.

Set a regular cadence for providing feedback, such as weekly check-ins, monthly one-on-one meetings, or quarterly performance reviews. During these sessions, discuss people’s progress, achievements, challenges, and areas for improvement. Give constructive feedback that is specific, actionable, and focused on behaviours and outcomes.

Finally, remember to review and adjust performance expectations regularly based on changing business needs, or individual circumstances. Be open to adapting goals and metrics to ensure they remain relevant and achievable. Communicate any changes in expectations clearly and provide them with the support they need to adapt and succeed.

6. Promote work-life balance in your remote work policy

Working from home can be tough because it's sometimes hard to tell when work ends and personal life begins. This can cause stress and burnout and make you less productive. But there are ways to make sure you have a healthy balance between personal and professional lives. One way to do that is by setting clear rules about when you work. Make sure you know when everyone should be working based on where they live and their schedule. By having a routine and sticking to it, you can be sure you're not working too much or too little and you're not always thinking about work when you should be relaxing. Don't forget to let your coworkers know that they shouldn't expect a response from you outside of work hours unless it's really important.

Sometimes, remote workers can feel lonely or stressed out because they're not around other people. If so, you can get help from employee assistance programs (EAPs). These programs can help you with mental health problems, like anxiety or depression, and they're private, so you don't have to worry about anyone knowing about it.

If you're a manager, try to be flexible and understanding. Your employees might have other responsibilities, like taking care of their kids or parents, that can make it hard for them to stick to a regular schedule. If you can, try to be flexible with their schedule so they can take care of their responsibilities and still do their work. This will help everyone feel less stressed and more productive.

7. Review and update your remote work policy regularly

It's important to keep your remote work policy up-to-date so it can stay relevant. As things change and new challenges come up, you need to adapt your policy to meet the needs of your team and organisation. One of the best ways to know what changes to make is to get feedback from your remote team. You can do this by surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one chats. 

Once you've gotten feedback, analyse it to see what changes you need to make to your policy. Focus on the most important changes and communicate them clearly to your remote team. Keep an eye on how well the changes work and make adjustments as needed.

Remote work policy template

This remote work policy template is a good starting point for companies that want to create a set of rules and procedures for their employees who work from home. It covers all the important aspects of remote work, including who can work remotely, how to communicate with colleagues, what technology to use, what performance is expected, and how to balance work and life. The template can be customised to suit your company's unique needs and culture, providing a great foundation for a successful remote work program.

Download template


Having a solid remote work policy is important for companies that want to enjoy the benefits of remote and hybrid setups. By figuring out what the business needs, defining who's eligible, setting clear rules for communication, collaboration, tech, security, and performance expectations, and promoting work-life balance, companies can come up with a robust plan to help remote workers succeed. By investing time and effort into creating a great remote work policy, companies can attract and keep top talent, build a positive work culture, and achieve long-term success.

Author photo

Jeremy Yancey

Head of Content, Tability

Share this post
Weekly insights for outcome-driven teams
Subscribe to our newsletter to get actionable insights in your inbox.
Related articles
More articles →