Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sound Telecommuting Policies For Nonprofits

The topic of telecommuting has come up on this blog in the past as it relates to job seekers. Should they consider it when applying for work? What is the advantage of working from home as opposed to at the office? These are all questions that have been discussed in previous posts.

As big of an issue as it is for job hunters, telecommuting affects employers just as much.

Having employees work remotely can sometimes be a hassle. While technology has allowed remote workers to better interact with their co-workers, it can still be hard when an individual is not around to give instant feedback. Any nonprofit that allows telecommuting must have sound policies in place to make sure things run smoothly.

Jeff Tenenbaum, who chairs the Nonprofit Organizations Practice Group at Venable LLP, suggested several components that organizations need to include when creating telecommuting policies. These include:
  • A clear definition of “telecommuting” for purposes of the telecommuting policy and any agreements between the employer and the employee;
  • Easy-to-understand eligibility requirements;
  • The steps of the telecommuting-approval procedure;
  • Clarity that participation in the telecommuting program is a privilege and not a right, subject to revocation at any time for any lawful reason;
  • Notice that abuse of telecommuting can result in disciplinary action, including termination;
  • Understanding of the employer’s right to inspect the home-based work environment;
  • A non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement;
  • Statement of the employer’s right to change the terms of its telecommuting policy; and,
  • Clear language that the telecommuting employee is expected to meet the same performance standards as on-site employees.

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