What Should Businesses Include in Their Contracts for Remote Workers?

11th October 2023
working from home

Remote work has become increasingly prevalent, offering employees flexibility and companies the ability to tap into a global talent pool. According to the ONS 44% of UK workers currently work remotely in 2023, which is made up of 16% full-time remote workers, and 28% hybrid workers (who split their time between home and the office).

As businesses embrace remote work arrangements, it becomes essential to have well-crafted contracts specifically tailored to remote workers.

These contracts establish clear guidelines, responsibilities, and expectations for both the employer and the remote employee.

Understanding Remote Work

Before delving into remote worker contracts, let’s clarify the different types of remote work arrangements.

Remote work encompasses various models, including working from home (WFH), hybrid working (a combination of remote and in-office work), and digital nomad-style arrangements.

WFH refers to working primarily from one’s home, while hybrid working involves splitting time between home and the office. Digital nomads take remote work to the next level, often working from various locations around the world. 21% of Brits plan to work remotely abroad in 2023.

What is a Remote Worker Contract?

A remote worker contract is a legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee engaged in remote work. It outlines the terms and conditions of employment specific to the remote work arrangement. These contracts address unique aspects of remote work and ensure clarity regarding responsibilities, expectations, and legal compliance.

The Benefits of Having Remote Worker Contracts

Establishing contracts tailored to remote work arrangements offers several benefits to both employers and employees. A remote workers’ contract will help your business with:

Legal Compliance

Remote worker contracts help ensure legal compliance by addressing specific requirements related to remote work, such as equipment provision, expenses, confidentiality, intellectual property, and data protection. By clearly defining these aspects, companies can mitigate potential legal risks.

legal compliance working from home

Financial Clarity

Contracts outline the financial obligations of both parties, including reimbursement of expenses incurred by remote workers (such as broadband and energy costs), and any allowances provided. This clarity promotes transparency and avoids confusion.

Organisational Structure

Remote worker contracts establish a clear organisational structure, delineating the reporting lines, managers and supervisors, communication channels, and performance expectations for remote employees. This enables effective collaboration and provides remote workers with a sense of direction and support.

Clauses to Include in Remote Worker Contracts

Equipment Provision:

Specify the necessary equipment for remote work and outline who will be responsible for providing and maintaining it. Include details on usage guidelines, potential monitoring, and insurance coverage for the equipment.

get the right equipment when working from home

Expenses:

Address the reimbursement of expenses incurred by remote workers, such as broadband, energy, and travel expenses directly related to work. Clearly define which expenses are covered by the employer and the procedure for submitting reimbursement requests.

Confidentiality:

Emphasise the importance of maintaining confidentiality, especially when remote workers operate from public spaces or keep physical copies of confidential information at home. Define confidential information, establish protocols for its protection, and address secure disposal methods and storage requirements. Having an MDM like Shepherd can help with this. Shepherd allows you to use your report portal to set policies for which applications remote users can access and how they handle company data. You can set safe network requirements, encrypt passwords, and even wipe devices that are compromised making them unusable.

Working Hours:

Define expectations regarding working hours, flexibility, and core hours, considering time zone differences for global remote teams.

Performance Measurement:

Outline clear performance metrics, evaluation criteria, and communication channels to monitor and assess remote workers’ performance.

Termination and Return of Equipment:

Establish procedures for contract termination and the return of company equipment, data, and confidential information. Devices For Teams’ Boomerang services can help you retrieve your hardware from staff and repurpose it for the next new hire.

58% of employers are offering remote work to all viable staff in 2023, so be sure to have your remote contracts in place before moving forward with a remote workforce.