As Coronavirus Spreads, Managers Ask How to Handle Telecommuting

Dana Wilkie By Dana Wilkie March 6, 2020
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As Coronavirus Spreads, Managers Ask How to Handle Telecommuting

​As the coronavirus continues to spread through the U.S.—so far infecting at least 162 people and causing 11 deaths—many employers are considering telling or have already told their employees to work from home. In China, where the virus was first identified, millions of people are working remotely.

But there are technological, process, security, workers' compensation and even tax considerations employers must keep in mind to support remote work.


SHRM Online has compiled the following articles and resources on this topic.


How to Create an Effective Teleworking Program
One of the first tasks for those who plan to manage teleworkers is deciding who on staff may be eligible for telework. Once that's decided, managers should keep in mind the following best practices.

SHRM's Remote Work Resource Center

These resources can help employers set up flexible work arrangements. They include a sample telecommuting application form and telecommuting policy and information about whether telecommuters are covered under workers' compensation.

Considering a Remote Work Policy? Consider This

Have you checked whether your workers' compensation policy covers remote employees? Do you have technology that lets you see your remote workers during meetings? Do you micromanage a remote worker more than the people who sit beside you, simply because you can't see what the remote worker is doing? Those are questions that HR departments should address to create a telecommuting program.

Technology to Support Remote Workers Evolves

In addition to videoconferencing programs, file-sharing platforms, and project management and time-tracking tools, new adaptive analytics and secure data-access technologies are helping employees who work from home or other locations outside the office.

Building and Leading High-Performing Remote Teams

Overseeing a team of remote employees doesn't come naturally to many managers. Some even question how they can know if people working away from the office are really working. But the guiding principles of leadership are the same regardless of whether the team is located under one roof or geographically dispersed.

Helping Remote Workers Avoid Loneliness and Burnout

Remote work forces structural and systemic change to accommodate different ways of working and different ways of being "available" and productive. Remote and flex work also present new challenges for managers.  In particular, burnout and loneliness.

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