With 50% of the workforce working in some sort of telecommuting role and 80 to 90% of all employees saying they would like to work remotely at least part of the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics, offering remote opportunities is an attractive way to gain productive workers.

While this is the ultimate work scenario for many employees, it can be difficult for many managers to come to grips with. You may feel like you have no control over the situation or find that gaining a trust level with a remote team can be a bit of a challenge. Yet, it is the way of the future of the workplace, and managers need to adapt to make the situation work for everyone involved.

Establishing goals and expectations – Written agreements are recommended to confirm such issues as:

  • Hours of work
  • Use of equipment
  • Reporting functions and relationships
  • Measurement of productivity
  • Dealing with crisis/unexpected events
  • Is on-site attendance ever required and when’
  • Reversion or conversion to non-remote status
  • Performance evaluations – Teamwork and coordination of resources
  • The expectation of communication with other employees
  • Client/customer interaction

Legal issues and exposure:

  • Reviewing limits of authority
  • Employee vs. contractor
  • Overtime/public holiday and related Employment Standards issues
  • Accommodation for disabled workers
  • Health and safety issues
  • Insurance coverage’s

Evaluating whether a remote workforce should be set up/maintained/canceled:

  • Evaluation/analysis of teamwork
  • Recruiting employees
  • Managing non-remote employees where a remote workplace exists

About the Speaker

Thomas is a partner and head of our Employment & Labour Group.

On the labour relations side, Tom’s practice involves counselling and representing employers in matters such as applications for certification by trade unions, unfair labour practice complaints, collective bargaining and arbitrations, human rights complaints, pay equity and privacy issues. In the employment area, Tom represents employers and employees in drafting employment contracts, litigating wrongful dismissal cases and dealing with post-employment issues such as restrictive covenants and fiduciary duties. Tom also represents employers with respect to occupational health and safety matters, including responding to orders and defending charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as applications, appeals and other proceedings under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

Tom regularly assists employers by proactively leading seminars and workshops for management on topics such as responding to union organizing campaigns and dealing with accommodating disabled employees. He also conducts workplace investigations as necessary to ensure that an employer’s legal position is fully protected.

Tom also speaks frequently to Human Resource professionals and managers on such topics as union organizing and various legislative amendments and developments.