Starting January 2022, Singapore’s Ministry of Health allowed 50% of employees back to the workplace. This fueled a lot of discussion on the current and future state of the workforce.
When I discussed remote work with some peers in Hong Kong, many were quick to turn down the idea and expressed unhappiness with the arrangement due to the size of their living space. It was too cramped, noisy, or otherwise distracting to become a permanent workspace.
We have also been asking APAC region clients about their priorities for 2022 and the majority raised the urgency of reviewing their current global mobility policies, as COVID-19 created sizeable gaps in their current programs. Through these discussions, we know that mobility managers are looking to formalize a remote work policy, and some have already launched a policy. AIRINC already published a Remote Work Playbook - this guide offers a framework for how mobility departments can assist their organizations in developing policies and processes to manage a compliant and productive remote workforce - access here.
Let’s review some pointers as discussed with my APAC clients on some best practices to help you get started.
- Put everything in writing and manage expectations
Remote working can potentially trigger compliance issues such as permanent establishment risks. Help remote workers understand where they can legally work. If the company does not have a presence in a particular country, what are the possibilities of securing a visa? There are currently about 20 countries that are promoting their digital nomad visa programs.
Employees need to understand that working in a country where they are not employed is technically illegal, and the repercussions will involve both the company and the employee. The policy should also address issues that have a long-term effect, such as insurance coverage and social security contribution. Some companies are now asking remote work applicants to show proof that they are sufficiently insured in the event of medical needs and accidents.
The policy needs to list out eligibility criteria for remote workers. Not all roles are cut out for remote work, especially those that requires the employee to be physically on-site and those where collaborating in teams is key.
Mobility managers recommend establishing a clear reporting structure with goals and scheduling regular catch-ups to encourage visibility and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. It might also make sense to include in the policy if the remote work arrangement will be subject to review, or if it can be altered to meet changing work trends.
- Home Workspace
The policy must address the suitability of the designated workspace that remote staff are working from. At the beginning of the pandemic, when employees were forced to work from home, many struggled with their home office set-up. They did not have the right chair or access to office equipment. During this time, AIRINC partnered with many clients to help them figure out a suitable allowance to furnish a home office.
Remote workers should be briefed on workplace safety standards and develop a check list.
- Remote work etiquette
Companies who are adopting remote working should brief employees on remote work conduct such as the proper usage of productivity tools i.e., being camera-ready at all times during an online meeting, the use of corporate backgrounds during calls, and the expected code of conduct while representing the company.
- Productivity Tools
Companies should also cover the expectation of how office equipment should be used. This will help contain possibilities of malware attacks and help safeguard data protection.
The option for remote work is now considered an important offering to retain and attract talent. Get in touch with our advisory team to learn more about how your organization can create an effective remote working policy.