Remote Work Policy: Integrating Time Tracking for Transparent and Fair Compensation [+ Free Template]

Having a remote work policy is an essential part of many modern business strategies. It will allow you to better and more easily manage remote workers and clear up any doubts they might have about your company’s expectations, goals, and more.

In today’s article, we’ll explore various topics, including how to create your own remote work policy, why you should integrate time tracking into it, and what benefits you can reap from doing so.

Remote Work Policy: Integrating Time Tracking for Transparent and Fair Compensation [+ Free Template]
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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We’re also including a remote work policy template you can use as an example when creating your own policy.


Let’s start!

What Is a Remote Work Policy?

A remote work policy is a set of guidelines or rules established by a company that defines and regulates the work of remote employees. It can contain anything from general expectations or responsibilities to precise procedures for anyone working in a non-traditional work environment. 

A remote work policy can be created as a temporary solution to facilitate and address health or other concerns. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies instituted a remote work policy that allowed a certain portion of their workers to work from home to lower the chances of spreading/contracting the virus at the workplace.

The policy can also be a permanent staple of your business, applicable to all employees working in a remote capacity, whether full-time or part-time, as freelancers, contractors, etc. 

Why Do You Need a Remote Work Policy?

A remote work policy is an important part of any business that employs either fully remote or hybrid workers. This policy ensures that the various processes inside your company are uniform and that every worker, even if not physically present, adheres to pre-set regulations and protocols designed to keep your business operating effectively. 

A remote work policy further ensures that all your remote employees use the same communication tools, time-tracking solutions, and project or task management software, making your organization more efficient and productive. 

The Main Advantages of Having a Remote Work Policy

The main advantages of having a remote work policy

Creating and implementing a remote work policy in your business comes with many different advantages. Some of the most prominent and obvious ones are:

  • Fewer risk factors – One of the principal reasons for having a remote work policy is to lessen the chances of risk before it even occurs. The most common risk factors include withholding payroll, switching tax jurisdictions, various immigration problems, and more. 
  • Larger recruiting pool – The option to work in a remote work setting can attract talent from all over the world, allowing companies to reduce various types of costs (including employment overhead) and increase the employee value proposition. This is greatly aided and overall made possible with a remote work policy. 
  • Increased work performance – A remote work policy, whether it applies to all or just a portion of your employees, will provide you with a clear framework for remote work. This can help set you and your company on the right path early on in regard to remote working environments. It also allows you to measure the productivity and efficiency of remote workers and can aid you in creating a setting beneficial to both your company and remote employees.
  • Guidance for employees – A lot of your employees will have questions about remote work, especially if you’re just starting to implement it. As an employer, it’s your job and responsibility to answer those questions and provide your employees with clear guidance regarding this issue. A remote work policy can help answer a lot of the questions employees might have, establish rules about various processes, and make employee onboarding much easier.

The Differences Between Remote, Hybrid, and Flexible Work

Remote work can be split into three different categories: fully remote, hybrid, and flexible work. Here’s how they differ:

  • Fully remote or, simply, remote work encompasses all companies that allow their employees to work full-time positions in a remote work setting. 
  • Hybrid work combines the elements of both remote work and in-person office work. In this type of work model, employees can alternate between working remotely and coming to the office. The specific arrangements and schedules of hybrid work can significantly vary depending on the nature and industry of the business/company employing this model.
  • Flexible work is similar to hybrid work, with the main difference being the addition of more flexible work hours. Employees working within the scope of this type of business model can more freely choose their work hours as well as the location to perform their work obligations (either remote or from a regular office).

What to Include in a Remote Work Policy?

What to include in a remote work policy

Having a clear and concise remote work policy can help you avoid miscommunication, uncertainty, legal problems, lowered work productivity, and more. 

For those reasons, it’s important to create a specific policy that encompasses and regulates remote work. To assist you, we’ve created a list of the most commonly applied rules, guidelines, and regulations that you should keep in mind when creating the best possible remote work policy for your business. 

Intention and Extent 

At the start, identify the workers this policy will apply to (e.g., contractors, part-timers, interns, and such). Decide whether this policy will be an additional benefit for employees who have been with your company for a long time or whether it will apply to all of your full-time workers (i.e., you’re making a permanent move to remote work).

You should also decide whether this remote work policy is a temporary measure or a long-term practice for your business.


Every remote work policy should include some sort of eligibility criteria, even if your entire business operates on a completely remote basis. Can your employees live anywhere in the world, or do they have to be located in the city or state where your business is registered? This is an extremely important question to answer as it can have severe legal ramifications for both employees and business owners, depending on which region of the world you’re stationed in. 

If your business is not fully-remote (meaning it’s either hybrid or flexible), try to define which of your employees are eligible to work from their homes and when. For example, you may add to your remote work policy that employees in your marketing department can work from home on days when their work obligations solely include building your social media presence or working on social media posts, engagements, and similar. 

The exact norm or guidelines you include in your remote work policy will be completely up to you. If you want, you can specify the minimum amount of time your employees have to work for your company before they qualify for remote work. Or, the policy can state that only employees with certain KPI scores can work from their homes, and so forth. 

Now, not every business and not every position can be done in a remote capacity. This typically includes job positions that require specialized equipment that cannot be found at home (e.g., heavy machinery, defibrillators, and more) or jobs that require face-to-face interactions with clients or customers. 

If you find that there are positions in your company that can not, in any capacity, be performed remotely, try adding those as non-eligible positions to your remote work policy.

And lastly, elucidate in detail the entire process employees must go through to submit a request to work remotely, as well as how the approval process will function. These could be regular written requests, formal or informal agreements, an email chain, contacting the HR department, and such. Basically, the way you handle this is completely up to your discretion, as there are technically no wrong answers. 

Expectations From Remote Employees

A remote work policy should include company standards and expectations of individual employees and teams. These norms will provide additional transparency regarding employee productivity, work obligations, and such. Here are a couple of things you can include in your company policy:


Decide early on on things like:

  • Can your remote employees freely choose their work hours, or should they be present and accessible at certain hours of the day (e.g., 9 am to 5 pm)?
  • If your employees work from different time zones, is there one “main time zone” they should adapt their schedules to (EST, GMT, and so forth)? 

Some businesses allow for a "window of time” during which their employees can perform their work duties. For example, they can put in their 8 hours of work anywhere from 8 am to 8 pm. Other companies allow for a more flexible type of work whereby employees can choose their working hours on their own.

And, lastly, some companies insist on their employees being available during “peak hours” (e.g., 2-4 pm). Your “peak hours” will depend on your business endeavors, the nature of your work, and the location of your clients, enterprise, industry, and similar.

Reaction/Response Time

Set clear expectations or enact strict guidelines when it comes to your employees answering emails and queries from either you, their managers, or clients. 

Put employee time zones and workload into consideration, as both of those can affect response time. Don’t hesitate to jot down an exact number for this. For example, you can add to your remote work policy that employees are obligated to answer all emails within 1 hour of receiving one.

Frequency of Communication  

Recent studies aimed at looking into the quantity and quality of communication between remote workers and their managers have indicated that communication can impact workers’ productivity and engagement levels. 

To increase the communication with your remote employees, you can add a provision in your remote work policy that dictates how often managers and employees should communicate with each other (e.g., daily, weekly…). Also, you can add specific rules that describe when to utilize a certain type of communication channel (e.g., email, video call, etc.) might be a good idea. 

Tools and Equipment for Remote Work

Include clear guidelines on what tools and equipment your remote workers will need to perform their job duties and whose responsibility it is to provide them. Should they procure some of the gadgets themselves, or is that your responsibility? If there are certain pieces of equipment or resources that you will reimburse them for, add those provisions to the remote work policy as well.

For instance, you might want to provide your remote employees with a work computer with pre-installed tools, such as time tracking software and communication apps, but don’t want to pay for your employees’ internet connection and electricity bills. If that’s the case, just add that to your remote work policy. Alternatively, if you wish to pay for those types of expenses, include this in your policy.

IT Support 

Your remote work policy should also explain all the necessary steps remote workers should undertake in case they experience any sort of technical problems with their work equipment. If you have a dedicated IT support team, tell them how and when to approach them (e.g., via Zoom during regular work hours).

Another option is to let your remote employees deal with any technical issues on their own. Also, if you want to reimburse them for the costs of solving these types of issues, you could add a specific provision about it to your remote work policy.

Travel and Related Expenses

Some remote companies hold in-person meetings every once in a while (usually quarterly, semi-annually, or annually). Others operate in a fully-remote capacity and don’t require their employees to travel for a work meet-up. If your company does require periodic traveling, specify who’s in charge of covering these expenses. 

In case employees are required to pay upfront and receive their reimbursement later, specify when exactly that will happen. Are they going to receive the money at the end of the year, of a specific quarter, or other?

The way you go about handling this issue is completely up to you. What’s important is to write it down and have it available to anyone inside your company that wishes to see it, so they’ll know what to expect in advance.

Disciplinary Actions and Penalties

Another important part of your remote work policy should include all the penalties and disciplinary actions that your employees could face if they don’t abide by the rules you have set.

You can include guidelines that encompass ways in which you aim to reproach remote workers who fail to meet their quotas and send deliverables on time or are experiencing low levels of productivity for an elongated period of time.

You could go with common HR practices or have a completely new set of rules that only apply to remote workers.  

Why Include Time Tracking in a Remote Work Policy?

Why include time tracking in a remote work policy

There are numerous reasons why you might want to look into including time tracking and time-tracking software in your remote work policy. Some of them are:

Keeping an Eye on the Productivity of Remote Employees

Time tracking and time-tracking solutions are an ideal way of keeping tabs on the productivity of your remote workers. These tools can give employers a deeper insight into employees' work habits, which can prove invaluable when working in a remote capacity without direct managerial oversight.

Additionally, time-tracking tools can be used to identify areas in which remote employees are lacking or need additional support or resources. 

With time tracking, you can optimize workflows, evaluate both individual and team performance, and more.

Ensure Everyone Is Fairly Compensated  

For companies that employ freelancers, hourly remote workers, or workers paid on a per-project basis, time-tracking software can be used to ensure accurate and fair compensation. 

With a time-tracking app, you can have a transparent and accurate record of the exact number of hours all of your remote workers have spent working on various work-related tasks, projects, and so on. Additionally, this will help you ensure your clients are being properly billed, and, likewise, that your remote employees are being accurately paid for the number of hours they’ve put in. This will save you time on dealing with disputes, accounting discrepancies, and more. 

For Project Management Purposes 

Companies usually provide services and work on projects for numerous clients, all at the same time. When that’s the case (and it often is), companies rally to employ some sort of project management tool. 

Adding a time-tracking solution to your already existing project management strategy is a good idea, as it will further allow you to:

  • Better allocate resources; 
  • Create time estimates;
  • Identify potential roadblocks or inefficiencies within your team.

If you want an easy template to use as the basis of your remote work policy, feel free to use ours!