Remote work regulations – a solution for efficiently organising work in the times of Covid-19?

By Magda Mączka, Stolarek & Partners

How should one organise remote working to maintain the effectiveness of your employees? Here are some practical tips with relevant reference to the Polish law.

In the times of Covid-19, many employers have decided to send their employees to work remotely – from their homes, where this is possible. For some employers and employees, the so-called home office has become a new reality. Nowadays, remote working has become an everyday life, but to maintain the commitment and efficiency of their employees, employers should quickly and efficiently adapt their companies to these new circumstances.

The labour laws do not regulate the provision of remote working in any way. On one hand, it forces employers to define the principles/rules of such work, but on the other hand it gives them a lot of freedom. There are several issues, which may raise doubts, both as to legal considerations and the practical approach. These include : (i) reporting of work results; (ii) personal data protection (iii) accidents at work; (iv) entrusting the work equipment to employees and their liability for it.

For example, how should an employee’s home injury be treated when an employer has no control over health and safety conditions in the employee's home?

Introducing transparent corporate regulations for remote working in the company can significantly facilitate work organisation and maintain employees’ efficiency and involvement in the home office. Most often this will involve changing the work regulations or  amending agreements with employees. A practical solution could also be a comprehensive regulation of all issues concerning the home office in a separate document, e.g. the regulations of remote work.  

Below, here are some practical tips and guidelines for employers to facilitate and organise remote working in their companies. Please note that the guidelines are general and the regulations must be adapted to the specifics of the particular business entity:

The practical tips are the following:

  1. Develop and introduce rules of organising remote work for your employees, e.g. in the form of remote work regulations or by amending the current work regulations. This is particularly important if your current regulations do not consider the remote work in any way.

  2. Introduce solutions enabling monitoring the efficiency and effects of the employee's work, e.g. define the principles of reporting the effects of work by the employee (work plan for a given day, presentation of a daily report on the performance of tasks).

  3. Define clear rules of the employee's state of readiness to perform work, in particular, determine the manner of confirming the employee's presence at work, determine the hours and form in which the employee is to remain at the disposal of the employer to accept and perform the current tasks transferred within the scope of duties, in particular by means of electronic communication.

  4. Define the principles of proper use of the company's resources and guidelines for maintaining work safety.

  5. Create a communication plan to involve remote employees in the daily operations of the company.

  6. Provide appropriate equipment for remote work. Make sure that all devices that will be used remotely have the latest version of their operating software, security software and applications.

  7. Develop and implement a security policy that applies to all employees working remotely, including measures to ensure the security of data processing by employees.

  8. Create a telephone number and e-mail address where employees can communicate their concerns about the company, home working and even the status of the virus.

  9. Provide instruments to motivate employees to act or influence their creativity.

  10. Make sure that you have back-ups of your services so that employees can continue working when additional traffic causes basic services to stop working.

This list is only an example of recommended actions. Each employer must adapt their actions to the specific needs of the company and the conditions affecting the organisation of work in the industry. In the era of uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 epidemic, the reorganisation of employment and its adaptation to new conditions has become an important topic, in particular it may be a key factor that will prevent the reduction of employment in the company and its further restructuring.