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How To Set Employee Expectations For Remote Work

As the modern work landscape evolves rapidly with advancing technology, setting employee expectations of remote employees is becoming increasingly common across various industries. While remote work offers employees increased flexibility and independence, it also presents unique hurdles regarding effective communication, maintaining productivity, and ensuring team unity.

It’s essential to remember that remote work comes with a particular set of dos, don’ts, and expectations that all employees must adhere to. While the transition to remote work may seem overwhelming, having clear employee expectations can provide clarity, direction, and security for your remote teams and ensure everyone is working efficiently and productively.

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Establishing work-from-home expectations for remote employees is essential in terms of punctuality, clarity, and the process they need to follow to work effectively. This could mean implementing guidelines and processes around remote communication and attendance guidelines. Ensuring collaborations are seen and heard, tracking progress, managing workloads, and finding the right tools to facilitate the process.

Employee expectations should cover various topics such as virtual work etiquette for Zoom meetings, and presence guidelines. These should also ensure remote teams use appropriate backgrounds and video filters to maintain professionalism. As well as appropriate online behavior when engaging with peers and customers. 

a remote wfh set up with coffee cup

Steps and Strategies to Set Employee Expectations for Remote Work

Remote work has become an everyday reality for many employees. Establishing some remote work best practices is essential to ensure remote workers can have effective remote working. Here are some best practices to consider when trying to answer the question of how to work remotely effectively.

Effective Communication

  • Establish Regular Check-Ins: Specify regular virtual meeting times to ensure smooth communication flows.
  • Use Multiple Channels: Encourage email, chat, and video conferencing for different types of communications.
  • Set Response Times: Define expected response times for emails and messages to avoid misunderstandings.

Schedule Work Hours

  • Define Work Hours: Specify the expected work hours for all remote employees.
  • Breaks and Time Off: Outline the breaks, lunches, and time off policy.
  • Attendance Policy: Create a clear attendance policy considering time zones if applicable.

Productivity & Performance

  • Set Clear Objectives: List out short-term and long-term goals for employees to meet.
  • KPIs and Metrics: Define key performance indicators to gauge productivity.
  • Progress Tracking: Establish methods for tracking work progress.


  • Daily/Weekly Reports: Ask for regular updates on tasks and projects.
  • Ownership: Emphasize the importance of taking ownership of one’s duties and responsibilities.
  • Time Tracking: Consider using time-tracking software to ensure focus and productivity.

Task Management

  • Prioritize Work: Help employees understand the hierarchy of tasks and deadlines.
  • Use Project Management Tools: Employ tools like Asana or Trello for better task organization.
  • Delegate Efficiently: Make roles and responsibilities clear.


  • Teamwork: Foster a collaborative environment even in a virtual setting.
  • Document Sharing: Use cloud-based platforms like Google Drive for easy document sharing.
  • Feedback Loops: Encourage open and constructive feedback among team members.
Planning, thinking and strategy by team collaboration on financial analysis in a corporate office.
Planning, thinking and strategy by team collaboration on financial analysis in a corporate office.


  • Provide Necessary Tools: Ensure all employees have access to the necessary hardware and software.
  • IT Support: Make sure employees know who to contact for technical issues.
  • Security Measures: Emphasize the importance of following security protocols while working remotely.

Work-Life Balance

  • Encourage Flexibility: Where possible, offer some flexibility in work hours for better work-life balance.
  • Set Boundaries: Help employees set work-life boundaries to prevent burnout.
  • Wellness Programs: Offer online wellness programs or stress management seminars.

Set Clear Expectations

  • Ensure Remote Work Expectations: Clearly communicate work expectations for remote teams, including deliverables and work schedules, making it evident that performance expectations remain a priority.

Schedule Regular Calls

  • Managing Remote Teams: Facilitate regular video calls to foster communication channels and maintain a sense of connectivity among team members. Schedule calls to discuss deliverables, address concerns, and meet performance expectations.

Set Performace Expectations

  • Work Schedule Alignment: Align work schedules with performance expectations to ensure that remote teams can meet their deliverables within the set timeframe. Clearly define achievable goals and set expectations for the attainment of tasks within eight hours.

Communication Tools for Workspace

  • Utilize Instant Messaging: Recognize the importance of instant messaging as an efficient tool for quick updates and communication within remote teams. Ensure that employees know which channels to use for different types of communication.
  • Video Call Etiquette: Emphasize the importance of proper video call etiquette to enhance the quality of virtual meetings. Highlight the significance of video calls as an effective means of communication and collaboration.


  • Remote Onboarding: Have a structured onboarding program for remote employees.
  • Mentorship Programs: Pair new employees with seasoned ones for guidance.

Enjoyment and Gifting

  • Team Building Activities: Plan virtual team-building activities to foster camaraderie and enjoyment.
  • Reward Systems: Create a point-based or performance-based reward system that lets employees choose gifts or perks.
  • Birthday and Work Anniversary Acknowledgments: Celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries with minor tokens or virtual celebrations.
  • Recognition for AchievementsReward outstanding work with public recognition or small gifts, such as vouchers or coupons.
  • Casual Virtual Meetups: Schedule non-work related virtual coffee breaks or happy hours to build a positive team culture.
  • Personalized Gifts: Occasionally send personalized gifts to employees’ homes to show appreciation for their hard work.
  • Employee Choice: Give employees the option to choose their preferred rewards or gifts.
  • Cultural Celebrations: Acknowledge and celebrate diverse festivals or holidays important to your team members by sending themed gifts or holding virtual events.
  • Well-being Gifts: Consider sending gifts that contribute to well-being, such as ergonomic office supplies or wellness kits.
  • Feedback for Enjoyment: Keep an open channel for suggestions on making remote work more enjoyable and what kinds of gifts or rewards employees would appreciate.
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Additional Bonus Points

  • Expense Policies: Clear remote work expense policies (e.g., Wi-Fi, electricity).
  • Legal Aspects: Ensure all work-from-home policies adhere to employment laws.
  • Trial Periods: Consider having a trial period for new remote employees to assess suitability.
  • Feedback on Policies: Encourage employees to provide input on remote work policies for continuous improvement.
  • Periodic Reviews: Periodically revisit and update remote work policies to adapt to changing circumstances.

Work From Home Requirements for Remote Employees

While a good balance of work and fun is vital for a company’s morale, too many potato head filters and virtual avatars can negatively impact productivity and employee engagement in a remote work environment.

The requirements for working from home can vary depending on the nature of the job, the industry, and the specific needs of the employer and employee. Below is a generalized list of requirements that are commonly needed for a work-from-home arrangement:

Hardware Requirements

  • Computer/Laptop: A reliable computer or laptop with sufficient processing power and memory to perform your job tasks.
  • High-Speed Internet: A stable and fast internet connection ensures smooth communication and task execution.
  • Webcam & Microphone: For video conferencing and virtual meetings.
  • Printer/Scanner: Depending on the nature of the work, you may need to print and scan documents.
  • Ergonomic Furniture: A comfortable and ergonomically designed chair and desk to maintain good posture during work hours.
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS): To prevent loss of work during power outages.
  • Multiple Monitors: Some roles may require more than one screen for multitasking.

Software Requirements

  • Operating System: A secure and up-to-date operating system (Windows, MacOS, Linux, etc.)
  • VPN: If necessary, securely connect to the company’s internal network.
  • Productivity Software: Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, or similar for document editing, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • Communication Tools: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or other tools for virtual communication.
  • Task Management: Software like Asana, Trello, or Jira tracks projects and tasks.
  • Antivirus Software: To protect against malware and viruses.
  • Specialized Software: Any software essential for your specific role, such as Adobe Creative Suite for designers or IDEs for developers.

Skills and Behavioral Requirements

  • Self-Discipline: The ability to manage your time and tasks without direct supervision.
  • Communication: Strong written and verbal communication skills to interact with team members and clients.
  • Tech-Savviness: Basic troubleshooting skills and familiarity with your hardware and software tools.
  • Availability: Being available during the company’s business hours and responsiveness to emails, messages, and calls.
  • Data Security: Awareness of and adherence to privacy laws and company data security policies.
  • Adaptability: The ability to quickly adapt to tools, processes, or tasks changes.

Environmental Requirements

  • Quiet Space: A distraction-free environment to facilitate focus and concentration.
  • Good Lighting: Adequate lighting to reduce eye strain.
  • Temperature Control: A comfortable room temperature for optimal productivity.
  • Network Reliability: A contingency plan for network outages, such as a mobile hotspot.

Understanding and meeting these requirements can help ensure you are well-equipped to work from home effectively and efficiently.

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am employee working remotely

Remote Work Policy – Points to Consider

Remote work policies are becoming increasingly prevalent, especially after global events that have accelerated the need for flexible working arrangements. Here are key points to consider when drafting a remote work policy:

  • Objective: Clearly state the policy’s purpose and its alignment with organizational goals.
  • Eligibility:
    • Define which roles are eligible for remote work.
    • Specify if it’s a permanent arrangement, temporary, or on a needs basis.
  • Equipment & Technology:
    • Identify who provides the necessary equipment (computers, monitors, etc.).
    • Define security protocols for devices.
    • Software & collaboration tools to be used.
    • Technical support and troubleshooting mechanisms.
  • Workspace:
    • Outline expectations for creating a productive, safe, and secure home office environment.
    • Clarify any reimbursements available for home office setup.
  • Work Hours & Availability:
    • Define core working hours if applicable.
    • Specify time-tracking methods (if any).
    • Communication expectations during work hours.
  • Performance Metrics:
    • Outline how performance will be measured and monitored.
    • Specify any reporting requirements.
  • Communication:
    • Recommend communication tools/platforms.
    • Define communication protocols, frequency of team check-ins, and meetings.
  • Data Security & Privacy:
    • Outline practices for ensuring the confidentiality and security of company data.
    • Recommendations for secure internet connections, VPNs, password management, etc.
  • Training & Development:
    • State if remote workers can access the same training opportunities as on-site employees.
    • Define processes for onboarding remote employees.
  • Health & Wellbeing:
    • Emphasize the importance of taking breaks.
    • Recommend ergonomic work setups.
    • Provide resources/support for mental health and stress management.
  • Expenses & Reimbursements:
    • Specify what expenses will be reimbursed and the process for claims.
    • Examples include phone/internet bills, office supplies, etc.
  • Legal & Tax Implications:
    • Be aware of legal obligations, primarily if employees work from different jurisdictions.
    • Mention tax implications for both employer and employee.
  • Travel & Meetings:
    • Specify any requirements for occasional on-site visits or meetings.
    • Define the company’s stance on covering travel expenses for such meetings.
  • Feedback & Reviews:
    • Set a frequency for regular feedback on the remote work policy itself.
    • Encourage employees to share challenges and suggestions for improvement.
  • Emergency Protocols:
    • Define how remote workers should respond during emergencies or unexpected situations.
  • Policy Review and Updates:
    • State how often the policy will be reviewed.
    • Mechanism for updating the policy as needed.
  • Termination:
    • Procedures for returning company property.
    • Specify any differences in the termination process for remote versus on-site employees.
  • Cultural and Team Building:
    • Suggest ways remote workers can stay connected to the company culture.
    • Encourage participation in virtual team-building activities.
  • Boundaries:
    • Emphasize the importance of separating work from personal life.
    • Offer tips or resources on setting boundaries at home.
  • Accessibility & Inclusion:
    • Ensure the policy does not discriminate and is inclusive.
    • Consider special needs and accommodations.

These points will help create a comprehensive remote work policy addressing various facets of remote employment. It’s essential to periodically review and update this policy as the needs of the organization and its employees evolve.

Sample Remote Work Policy

To create a remote work policy SHRM that is clear and concise, organizations can use templates and guidelines provided by resources such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Key elements of a remote work policy may include guidelines around communication, availability, attendance, equipment, and technology.

To encourage compliance with the policy, organizations may offer incentives. Incentives such as rewards, perks, or recognition programs that recognize employees who meet or exceed expectations while working remotely. A well-designed sample remote work policy can help create a positive and productive remote work environment that supports employee morale and engagement. Consider using a remote work policy template to understand employee expectations better.

How can organizations seamlessly integrate remote team members while ensuring clear expectations for optimal collaboration?

Organizations can foster seamless integration by establishing a hybrid work model that combines remote and in-office collaboration. Setting remote work expectations involves defining standard work hours, making communication tools easily accessible, and emphasizing the attainable goals that contribute to a robust remote work culture. Balanced work-life dynamic are also important as it supports optimal collaboration.

What strategies empower remote workers to understand and meet employer-set expectations while working independently?

Empowering remote workers involves providing necessary tools and setting clear, attainable goals. Organizations must prioritize setting remote work expectations by establishing a hybrid work model accommodating independent work and collaborative efforts. Recognizing the importance of a healthy work-life balance also contributes to empowering remote workers to align their efforts with employer-set expectations.

What steps are crucial for organizations to set expectations and foster transparency in remote work environments?

Crucial steps for fostering transparency in remote work environments include setting standard work hours, defining hybrid work policies, and establishing clear expectations for deliverables. Emphasizing a hybrid work model ensures that expectations are attainable and aligned with the organization’s goals. 

How can leaders manage remote teams effectively?

Leaders can manage remote teams effectively by setting attainable performance expectations, providing IT support, and cultivating a hybrid work culture that values flexibility. Recognizing the critical need for regular communication through video calls and instant messaging enhances team collaboration. Standard work hours and a balanced approach to remote work contribute to effective leadership in a hybrid work environment.

How do organizations communicate and define performance expectations, influencing remote workers’ contributions to organizational goals?

Organizations communicate performance expectations by setting clear, attainable goals and utilizing hybrid work policies. Emphasizing a hybrid work model ensures remote workers understand and align with organizational goals. Recognizing the critical need for regular performance evaluations and transparent communication channels positively influences remote workers’ contributions.

What essential considerations and practices help remote employees meet and exceed expectations while working remotely?

Essential considerations include setting attainable work goals, adhering to standard work hours, and actively participating in a hybrid work culture. Recognizing the critical need for maintaining a dedicated workspace and engaging in wellness programs contributes to remote employees meeting and exceeding expectations in a hybrid work environment.


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