For the Small Business Owner – Telework Basics / by, Alan Bernstein, President HR Office Savers

by, Alan Bernstein, President HR Office Savers



In the event of an emergency such as a weather disaster or pandemic, you may allow or require employees to temporarily work from home to ensure business continuity.

Here are some best practices for allowing employees to telework and still deliver results, regardless of whether you are dealing with a virus, a hurricane or just a regular workday:

Temporary Telework Policy

If you do not normally allow telework, create a temporary telework policy for all your employees to know your expectations of them and what they can expect from you.

The policy should include a statement that the employee will comply with all Company rules, policies, practices and instructions that would apply if the employee were working at the employer’s work location.

Pro-tip: Include in your policy that employees should not assume any specified period of time for emergency telework arrangements, and you may require employees to return to regular, in-office work at any time.

Signed Telework Agreement

The agreement expands on the policy. It is customized to each employee’s job and work demands and specifies expectations for work hours, communication, record-keeping and timekeeping at a minimum.

For example, you may require all employees to work a 6-hour shift. But one employee may work 2 three-hour shifts, while another employee may work a straight 6-hour third shift.

Pro-tip: Both you and the employee need to sign the agreement so you can hold each other accountable and there are no surprises later.


You are not required to allow your workers to telework. But if you do, you must provide them with the appropriate equipment or tools as if they were working in your office.

Many employees already possess fundamental technology at home, including a computer, phone, and internet access. Loan out laptops and other tools as needed in order for them to do their job.

Pro-tip: Create a separate agreement for your employees to sign for each piece of equipment they take home. Include serial numbers or other unique identifiers so there is no confusion later when it’s time to return the equipment.

In Conclusion

Telework is still working! You can and should continue to manage your employees’ performance. Create policies and have employees sign forms that protect you and your business. 

Alan is the owner of HR Office Savers, Inc., an independent human resource consulting firm that supports small local businesses and individuals with their human resource needs, including staffing, compliance, and job search. Prior to launching his business, Alan held a series of Human Resource positions of increased responsibility at Harris Corporation, Honeywell International, GTSI Corp, and Verizon Wireless.  Alan holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Buffalo, is Six Sigma Green Belt Certified, and is a Senior Certified Professional with the Society of Human Resource Management.

HR Office Savers offers a full range of human resource support options, from annual checkups to on-site HR support, including writing employee handbooks and policy manuals. Contact us today at

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