COVID-19: Create A Work From Home Policy for Your Business

As per CDC and OSHA, most American employees currently face low to medium level of risk exposure to COVID-19 in their workplace. If the Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak has forced your employees to enter Work From Home (WFH) mode, don’t panic! You should be flexible in your planning and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are certain simple steps you can follow to ensure business continuity in these troubled days.


First Things First – Plan & Communicate

Set up a process, define ways of working, ensure data security and communication protocols. Then communicate the same to your employees through a focused COVID-19 Work From Home guideline document.

Build Your Own COVID-19 Work From Home Guide

 Qualifying for Coronavirus Work From Home policy

 Specify who are eligible for working from home during the current Coronavirus outbreak. It may include one or more of the following:

  • All employees
  • Categories of employees (define)
  • Employees requesting for self-quarantine, due to
    • Feeling under the weather, but able to work
    • Having family member infected by COVID-19
    • Recent close contact with person(s) infected by COVID-19
    • Having kids at home
    • Having recently returned from a COVID-19 infected area
    • Employees using public transport for daily commute
  • Employees asked to go on medically recommended quarantine

COVID-19 How to Request for Work From Home

Specify process. It could be through a custom workflow built in your enterprise HR application (Hint: we can help with consultation) or through existing workflow – however, needs to have an internal identifier in system for tracking/ audit/ insurance/ asset management purposes later.

  • Specify who can initiate:
    • Associate can request for self
    • Manager can request for self
    • Manager can request on behalf of associate
  • Approval process
    • Whether HR approval needed or
    • Auto-approved (based on criteria; define criteria)

COVID-19 Work From Home Communication Guidelines

Specify details on how the remote employees in a team are to perform daily operations. It should include specifics on:

  • Daily telecommuting schedule (specify ‘normal’ working hours, shifts, if any)
  • Daily check-in protocol (virtual stand-up with manager – through instant message, phone call or video chat)
    • Individually or in groups
  • Specify productivity tools to be used (examples below)
    • Video meeting: Zoom, Google Hangout
    • Team management: Asana, Microsoft Teams
    • Instant messaging: Slack
  • Reminder on telecommuting best practices – respond to meeting requests, mails and messages, share status report on work done, set Out-of-Office, if not available
  • Keeping customers updated regularly through emails
  • Communicating foreseen delays and/or slippages to stakeholders
  • Professional attire while attending team and/or client video-conference

COVID-19 Work From Home IT Guidelines

Specify details on how the remote employees would ensure business continuity and data security through IT practices. It should include specifics on:

  • Use of company owned hardware, wherever possible
  • How to access company webservers or internal IT assets
  • Steps to access secure resources through secure Wi-Fi or VPN
    • How to get credentials
    • From whom to get credentials
    • Mandatory multi-factor authentication
  • Securing the laptop/ tablet/ PC/ Mac
    • Recommended anti-virus program/ firewalls
    • Recommended data security tool like Bit locker
    • Recommended apps (ref. section above and installation steps)
  • Physical security guidelines
    • Locking m/c not in use
    • Avoid shoulder surfing
    • Use privacy filter on screen

COVID-19 Work From Home Travel Guidelines

Specify details on how the remote employees would handle business related travel. It should include specifics on:

  • All work trips and events cancelled/ postponed (till further notice)
  • Allowed business travel (should be kept to a minimum, unless absolutely necessary/ refer to Travel Advisory)
    • Authorization required
    • Inward travel from COVID-19 infected region
      • Compulsory self-quarantine
      • Specify whether it should be counted as emergency leave or be eligible for Work For Home
    • Outward non-essential travel – all banned for the moment/ refer to Travel Advisory (Currently on Level 4 – Do Not Travel)
    • No in-person meetings with vendors. Partners, prospects, candidates or team members unless approved in writing by management (or authorized designate)

COVID-19 Work From Home General Hygiene Guidelines

Reiterate general hygiene details recommended by WHO, CDC and OSH guidelines. Stress on hand-washing techniques, cleanliness benefits of quarantine and social distancing.

 Finally, specify organization touch-point for tax, service related costs or reimbursement queries for employees undertaking Work From Home during the COVID-19 crisis.

 That would be all. Stay safe! Stay healthy!