Telecommuting or remote (control) workers

June 12th, 2018 by hrsimple

Remote control

With the advances in technology in the last 20 years, the need for some employees to commute to the office daily has dropped drastically. Telecommuting, or working outside the office (usually in the employee’s home), has become a popular arrangement as it offers some clear advantages for employees and employers, including:

  • increased productivity
  • increased job satisfaction
  • reduced absenteeism
  • lower employee turnover
  • savings in expenses such as office rental, utilities, and employee parking
  • improved employee morale
  • reduced employee stress and related medical expenses.

But not all employees and positions translate well to this digital office, and there are many details to be considered when starting a telecommuting arrangement.

What positions are a good fit for telecommuting? 

Many jobs are easily adaptable for telecommuting, for example: journalist, designer, writer, accountant, data entry, programmer, and data analyst. In general jobs that have a clear production schedule are good for telecommuting as the employee knows how productive they need to be. 

A good test is to consider if an employee can close their office door for eight hours and accomplish their job with no face-to-face contact (emailing is allowed), if so that job is adaptable for telecommuting.

On the other hand there are many jobs in which telecommuting would be a bad match. Roles that involve a lot of managing projects and employees, technology assistance, conducting on site meetings, or that require a lot of face to face contact with team members may not fit the requirements for full-time telecommuting. 

What employees make successful telecommuters? 

An employee’s position being well suited for telecommuting does not necessarily mean the employee is. A good candidate for telecommuting: 

  • is interested in telecommuting
  • is self-motivated
  • has received successful performance evaluations
  • can function without direct supervision
  • can work in isolation
  • has good time management skills
  • can provide an appropriate work space at home
  • can stay in contact with supervisors
  • can plan their work according to designated timetables.

In general employees who have proven themselves to be focused, responsive to supervisors, and otherwise responsible should make good telecommuters. 

How should an employer start a telecommuting arrangement?

A good first step is to sit down with the employee and their supervisor to map out how the telecommuting will be handled. A few topics to discuss are: 

  • how files and assignments will be shared
  • how often check-ins are required 
  • what equipment will be needed, what will be supplied by the employer, and how such equipment will be maintained
  • what workload/time table the telecommuter is responsible for
  • a reminder that telecommuting is an extension of the office itself, and the employee needs to follow company policies accordingly. 

The employer should also remember that they are still responsible for the employee during working hours, and should make arrangements to ensure the employee is working in a safe environment (for example, there are no fire hazards or exposed wires, etc.).

After the supervisor and employee have discussed the terms of the arrangement, the employee should sign a telecommuting agreement, confirming they have understood the guidelines clearly. Here is an example of such an agreement. 


Employer/telecommuter written agreement checklist

  • The employee will be covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation coverage when at home, if the employee is injured while performing job duties.

  • The employee is required to hold any client or business meetings at the official work office, and not at home.
  • The employer will not be responsible for the cost of utilities other than those specifically agreed upon such as the cost of additional telephone lines.
  • The employee will obtain a fire and safety inspection of the home worksite before telecommuting begins. (Employee must use a UL approved surge protector, and a grounded outlet for telecommuting equipment.)
  • The employer will provide itemized pieces of equipment and any necessary upgrades to the equipment as determined by the employer.
  • The employee will be responsible for securing, with a lock or other security device, the telecommunications equipment provided by the employer, and will be responsible for any damages to the equipment which are the result of failure to secure. The employee will also be responsible for the safeguarding of records, files, correspondence, and other business papers.
  • The employee will be responsible for regular backup and maintenance of computerized files, unless a network system of routine back-up is provided.
  • The employer has the right to inspect the home worksite, with adequate notice, to ensure that the equipment is being properly maintained. Visits should be scheduled in advance during normal business hours.


Employee signature



Manager signature


HR Webinars
Making Your HR To-Do List & Checking it Twice for the New Year
December 13th, 2018 at 7:30am CST by Greg Grisham, David Jones, Courtney Leyes, Gabriel McGaha, Robert Ratton III, Martin Thompson, Jeff Weintraub

Terminations Got You Down? 5 Tips to Tighten Your Termination Tactics
December 17th, 2018 at 12:00pm CST by Brian T. Benkstein at Fredrikson & Byron

Unconscious bias - whether you realize it or not
December 18th, 2018 at 11:00am CST by Margaret A. Matejkovic, Esq. at Kastner Westman & Wilkins, LLC

HR Articles
MeToo, avoiding women, and the modified Mike Pence Rule
Carnac the Magnificent says – Politicussin
Non-competes for non-skilled – non-productive, non-legal, non-enforceable?
Discrimination CHARGE! – Step 3 Cause or no cause, because you gotta do something
Discrimination CHARGE! – Step 2 Go Kim Possible for the investigation phase
Discrimination CHARGE! – Step 1 Don't panic, ask questions
Depression – what can an employer do?
Employers beware - what you say can and will be used against you
Holiday stew – ingredients for a happy and non-litigious holiday
MO - The weed du jour - marijuana médicale
Biometrics in the workplace - not a measure of bios accumulated by an employee
Thanks-giving isn't just about turkeys - include the good employees too
The best "stay" to help you retain employees
Overtime, daylight savings time and circadian rhythyms
Controlling the political speech of buttons*
Cursing, surfing, weapons, gadgets – illegal, inappropriate or OK?
How to Ghostbuster a new hire or applicant
Election leave – employer's civic duty, migraine, or just wishful thinking (election, leave!)
Costumes, booze and the Great Pumpkin – beware the office Halloween party
Disability – Dr. or employee approved?
401(k) plan + payroll provider = 401k good things
Disability/pregnancy practices – what not to practice
Bad hire! Bad, bad hire!
TN – A drug-free workplace program is good
Open enrollment – personalizing perks pays off
Unpaid intern – depends on who benefits
The #1 office perk is . . . ?
FMLA leave before being eligible for FMLA leave
IL – Required expense reimbursement for your employees, not Bill Self
Help hiring holiday help here
Are the new DOL opinion letters like noses?
Public disclosure of confidential information is easier than you think
Bad mix – accommodation request and firing
If religious accommodation and a flu shot both equal angst, is that the transitive or substitution property?
Workplace shootings – 20 can-dos to prevent them
No call/no show shows. No what about it.
List 10 Up: Top tips for starting a workplace incident interview
Mr. Freeze unveils National Security Freeze tagline: "They can't steal your identity if it's frozen"
If it's called a dress code, can I wear pants?
I've changed my name – to Optimus Prime
TN: Conceal and carry means post to prohibit or permit
I'll take "ADA in 5s?" please Alex
Swearing at work – 7 rules
Is that red light flashing?
Four-legged office mates and the pawternity policies they benefit
Notice: notices and forms for FMLA that were already expired now updated virtually unchanged
Don't feel ripped off when you get ripped off – get even
School-related parental leave does not mean you forge a note from your kid
NY: Draft model sexual harassment policy/training released
Discipline - Demote - Depart or Communicate - Counsel - Channel
ICE audits II – FAQs to make you wiser
Round up stew: sick leave, harassment, non-compete, etc.
Identifying trade secrets does not mean figuring out how to barter better
ICE audits have nothing to do with freezer police
Being at work full time is not an essential function of a job?
List 10 up: Positive employee relations training: reap the benefits of engagement
Employment agreements – what to do before you do
Background checks of the future are continuous
Treating service animal requests (always treat the animal)
Prepare for saying "No" – you need to decide how to refuse service
List 10 up: What's the deal with employee handbook rules?
I cannot tell a lie . . . you're fired for cutting down the cherry tree
Milk Stork delivers for working mom's and their baby
Job tasks and essential functions under the ADA
Who are you? Why are you here? Personality testing?
No, you can't sleep on the job
Technology driving the hiring process
Should you give your employees a little Slack – or do they have enough already?
"We need to talk" isn't any easier to say than to hear
Bet employers must make: call and raise your minimum wage
Zero tolerance for "zero tolerance" policies
Ralph Waldo Emerson as a productivity consultant
Is the employee "disabled" under the ADA?
The six step DOL audit polka
PTO on the house!
New rules for work rules
Dr. Strangelabor or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Millennial
Did Bartleby the scrivener write his own job description?
"Treating" disgruntled or bad behaving employees
Hiring under the age of 18
DO NOT LICK THE BRAIN! and other obvious stuff
Helping your employees save for emergencies
Right to bare arms in the workplace
#MeToo quiz
Under standing desks
How to approach an employee showing signs of cognitive decline
Dress codes should not be encoded
Foul language *
Rorschach, Horshack and Abednego
Don't ask a woman the gender of her child, especially. . .
Guidelines for a valid no-solicitation/no-distribution policy
All aboard the Love Train for long-term onboarding!
Gender and workplace bathrooms
No FMLA for pet's death
Personal hygiene in the workplace
Yes Virginia, there is a St. Patrick's Day in Ireland
Master the modern method for managing March Madness
Drug testing in The Office
Background checks
"Thank you" and "I'm sorry" – meaningful, simple and impactful
Michael Corleone HR tip for the day
S'not flu or it is, doesn't matter
Be prepared for ICE raids
Looking for employees: an untapped source of talent
Calling Dr. Love(less)
Non-exempt employees – what counts as wages?
HR is not a happy accident
Do new hires have to be a culture club fit?
Remote workers and telecommuting
When former employees ask for references
Model written lock out/tag out program
Wrong table cat
They might be giants . . . transforming healthcare?
Conducting internal I-9 audits
The Nebraska Chamber has issued a W-2 challenge to state taxpayers
The impact of super bowl(ing)
12 steps to handling violence in the workplace
Workplace retaliation: don't give in to the Dark Side
Would you really want to work with a bunch of yous?
What is the ADA?
Monty Python should not write your job descriptions
FMLA definitions
Unemployed or wear a bra – are those the only choices?
What "government shutdown" means for employers
An intern by any other name
FMLA - "leave" as in "leave the employee alone"
 “M,” “F,” Or “X”? Nonbinary Gender Designations in the Workplace
Sexual harassment – can't find it – what now?
Probationary periods
Employee contracts
How to treat fringe benefits for employees
Attendance policies
Different repeal
Temporary and leased employees
Birthdays in the workplace
Needy employees
Holiday parties - acknowledge, avoid, assume (nothing)
Dress codes: who, what, wear
Punch clock
Nepotism: favoring relatives and friends in the workplace
Year-end performance reviews
Hiring interviews
The Form I-9 has changed… Again!
Service dogs at work
Bring your own gun
Social media
Year-end or holiday incentives
Arizona sick day policy
Paternity leave
HRsimple spotlight - Fiona Ong
Permissible post-accident drug testing
Paid family leave: a growing trend
Politics in the workplace: how to remain legally compliant during election season
Termination Series: Communicating the reason for discharge
It’s only a matter of overtime
Interview with attorneys at Kastner Westman & Wilkins
Valentine's Day heartaches around the office
Safety and health tips
Wearable technology
Favorite HR sites
Back to school time is here!
Vacation policies and time off
Interview with author J. Hagood Tighe
Non-compete agreements
Workplace romance
Bullying in the workplace
Employment references
Telecommuting or remote (control) workers
Social media and employment
Performance evaluations
Interview with attorneys at Wilson Worley PC
Interview with attorneys at Knudsen Law Firm
Interview with Kathy Speaker MacNett
Firing, a job to do right the first time
Job advertisement do’s and don’ts
Employee handbooks – getting a handle on your policies
Technology in the workplace
Interview questions: do's and don'ts
Employee personnel files