HR Feature Human Resources Management

How to Craft and Communicate an Effective Work-from-Home Policy

As your teams and employees make the transition to working from home, they’re inevitably confronted with new and unfamiliar challenges throughout their workday. 

Drew Amoroso

Teams are being forced to design and operate within a new workday structure. Many of them are working from spaces within their homes that were not designed for long-term work. And many of them are juggling distractions, family obligations and other commitments that were never part of their old workday.

But here’s the good news: these challenges also present an opportunity for you to craft a clear and effective work-from-home (WFH) policy. A well-written, thoughtful policy will not only make your teams feel supported, it will also empower them with the tools and confidence they need to perform at a high level and show up at their best.

As you go about implementing a new policy (or refining an older version), consider breaking that process up into two phases: crafting the policy and communicating it.


As you begin crafting your policy, here are a few essential considerations to take into account.

Start with expectations. At the heart of a well-designed work-from-home policy are clear expectations around communication, responsiveness, availability, security measures, productivity and interactions with clients and third parties.

The expectations around these workday pillars have likely shifted given the challenges that working exclusively from home can present. To account for those shifts, it’s imperative that your policy communicates any new or adjusted expectations — or reiterates that expectations have not changed.

 For example, consider addressing things like: 

  • What constitutes core work hours
  • Online availability and responsiveness
  • Preferred communication methods
  • Security protocols

With clear expectations, team members can better manage their workday and create separation between their work and personal time.

“I’d say the most important thing in a WFH policy is clarity. You need to be absolutely clear in what your allowances, policies and expectations are for your team,” says Amy Mann, Director of Creative Services at AffiniPay, an ALA VIP business partner. “Even if your office is normally flexible in terms of work processes and attendance (things like time in/time out), take the time to articulate your attendance requirements and availability requirements.”

Whether they’re verbalizing it or not, many of your team members are likely struggling with the transition to working from home so often. 

“For team leads,” says Mann, “you may also want to set ‘touchpoint’ expectations — namely, how many times they are required to communicate with their direct reports per day or per week and by what tactics (chat, phone or video communication).”

Consult with managers. Consider checking in with managers or other team leads as you create the policy. Collaboration is a key factor in creating a policy that is both realistic and effective for members across different teams.

It’s likely that working from home has presented challenges for specific teams or team members that your managers are aware of that you may not be thinking about.

Address productivity, responsibilities and performance. Working from home means that team members are likely subject to additional distractions, less workday structure and shifting day-to-day responsibilities. Clarifying standards and outlining expectations in these areas is a must.

Consider tracking relevant business metrics or other key indicators that will help you and your team leaders gauge productivity. Importantly, if any of these expectations have shifted given the transition to remote work or changes to your business operations, you should clearly communicate these changes.

In addition to metrics, you may consider implementing regular check-ins or simple periodic reporting that will help your teams stay aligned and ensure that their productivity and performance is visible.

Clarify guidelines regarding remote work tools. If your team will be relying more on new technologies or remote work tools, you’ll want to establish guidelines for how to use them.

Consider developing training and policies around the use of group communication tools and videoconferencing platforms like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Google Hangouts. Clarify which platforms are company-approved for communicating internally and externally and provide guidance on best practices for using them efficiently and securely.

Address security issues. Speaking of security, your WFH policy should explain how you expect team members to secure information while working from home.

Considerations should include best practices for the storage of confidential information (both hard and digital copies), discussing confidential matters on the phone, how to establish secure Wi-Fi connections or the use of virtual private networks (VPNs), or any other security concerns that are specific to your operations.


A WFH policy is only as effective as your efforts to educate teams on its contents and the company’s expectations.

“Overcommunication is key when transitioning to working from home,” says Mann. “Not only does overcommunicating ensure that people are connected, engaged and accountable for the work they’re doing, but it also helps people feel seen, heard and personally in touch with their team.”

Consider some of the following best practices as you roll out your policy.

Spend extra time reviewing with managers. Spend additional time with team managers and supervisors to make sure they’re comfortable with the policy and its particulars.

At the heart of a well-designed work-from-home policy are clear expectations around communication, responsiveness, availability, security measures, productivity and interactions with clients and third parties.

This might seem obvious, but with entire workforces moving to working remotely, many new questions will arise throughout a workday. As the frontline for many of these questions, you’ll want all of your management to be on the same page about the policy and its contents.

Ask employees for their input. Although you may think you’ve put together a thoughtful and comprehensive policy, you’ll want the input of team members, too.

If this is the first time you’ve implemented a comprehensive WFH policy, you’ll want to know what’s happening at the ground level to truly understand how the policy is working and how it may need to be adjusted.

Asking for input also communicates a sense of community and trust and makes your team feel heard during this challenging transition period.

Set up evaluation checkpoints. Set up some timeframes to do a simple review of how the policy is working. As your teams adjust and adapt to working remotely, new issues are sure to arise, and assumptions you made about best practices may need to be revisited.

Plan to assess your policies and how they’re working to ensure that they’re providing your teams with the support they need.

Maintain connection. Whether they’re verbalizing it or not, many of your team members are likely struggling with the transition to working from home so often.

One of the best things you can do for your team as you roll out your policy is to let them know that one of your main priorities is to help everyone stay connected and empower them as they work remotely.

“Working from home or working remotely can be an isolating and difficult experience for some people, and they might not always feel comfortable expressing their struggles or concerns,” says Mann. “By being proactive and reaching out to people even if you aren't aware that they’re struggling, you can help these team members feel connected and supported even if they’re working in isolation.”