What Are Some Benefits of Allowing Employees to Work Remotely?

Remote and hybrid work arrangements provide several benefits to both employees and employers, including:

  • Enhanced employer-employee relationships;
  • Comfortable environments and inclusive working conditions for employees requiring accommodation in the workplace;
  • Accessible communication and collaboration with all members of the organization through instant messaging, videoconferencing software, and project management tools;
  • Access to a larger talent pool without being restricted to employees within the employer’s immediate geographical area.

What Is Telecommuting or Telework?

Telecommuting (or “telework”) refers to employees working virtually outside the central designated workplace or employer location. While telecommuting requirements depend on the circumstances, they generally require the following:

  • A reliable internet connection;
  • A functional workspace; and
  • Collaborative digital workspaces, which may include email, instant messaging, videoconferencing and project management tools and software.

What Happens if an Employee Is Injured While Working at Home?

If an employee reports they have been injured while working from home and require treatment beyond basic First Aid, their employer should report the injury to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board in Ontario, even if they are unsure whether it is a work-related injury. It is vital to ensure an appropriate policy is in place setting out health and safety protocols and standards for employees who work remotely.

How Can Employers Protect Company Property and Information Security When Employees Work Remotely?

When working remotely, an employee should ensure their home office or equivalent workspace offers the same level of security that would be provided at the employer’s workplace. The employer should implement and maintain a plan incorporating appropriate security measures. For example, a work-from-home or remote work security plan might:

  • Provide employees with computers and technology equipped with security software;
  • Encourage the use of separate work and personal devices;
  • Ensure security software and operating systems on company technology are kept up-to-date;
  • Encourage the use of a virtual private network (VPN); and
  • Include measures to protect the physical security of work-related equipment, such as locked briefcases or other storage methods.

At Haynes Law Firm, we help employers draft and develop employment policies to seamlessly facilitate remote and hybrid working arrangements.

How Can Employers Support Remote Employees’ Mental Health?

Some remote employees may miss the social and routine aspects of an in-person office. Others may thrive in a comfortable environment without such distractions. Either way, it is important to ensure that employers recreate some of these aspects so employees remain engaged for their productivity and mental health. These virtual social environments may involve the use of instant messaging and videoconferencing tools, and phone calls to facilitate contact, despite geographical separation. Encouraging employees to incorporate movement and breaks throughout the day can also help employees return to work refreshed and prepared to focus on the tasks at hand.