I have employees working from home. What remote work policies do I need?

I have employees working from home. What remote work policies do I need?


As confirmed cases of COVID-19 surge across B.C., nearly five million Canadians continue to adjust to their “new normal” of remote work.  When considering this adjustment, having unwritten rules may cause confusion amongst your employees and can leave your organization vulnerable.

To ensure that everyone understands their roles, duties, and responsibilities, here is a list of practical considerations for employers reviewing their remote-work policies.



Communicate your right to impose remote work arrangements, as deemed necessary by jurisdiction guidelines or operational needs.  Then, determine which roles are most conducive to remote work by identifying criteria such as job function, access to specialized equipment, and/or the need for face-to-face contact. Additionally, be sure to identify your right to change, modify, or discontinue the arrangement at any time, unless otherwise mandated by legislation.

Human Rights Considerations

While employers have the right to determine those eligible for remote work arrangements, they also have a duty to accommodate requests for accommodation on the basis of the applicable human rights legislated protected grounds. For example, in B.C., employment discrimination on the basis of family status is prohibited by human rights legislation. This means that employers cannot deny reasonable accommodation in cases where employees demonstrate their obligation to provide care for children or elders. In the context of returning to school during COVID-19, accommodation may be required where a parent has been advised by a health-care professional to keep their at-risk child at home. To supplement a standalone accommodation policy, employers should identify the process for submitting remote-work requests.

Technology & Equipment

Identify the technology and equipment required to support the remote-work arrangement. You’ll want to clarify whether it will be provided by you, the employee, or if employees will be eligible for reimbursement. You’ll also want to communicate that the use of employer provided technology and equipment is limited to authorized persons and for purposes related to business use only.

Privacy & Confidentiality

Ensure you protect sensitive information by setting clear expectations for the ongoing protection of company property and confidential information. Privacy and confidentiality polices should be reviewed to address proper document storage on personal devices, confidentiality in personal residences and processes for the disposal of sensitive company information.

Health & Safety

Employers are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of employees when they are working from home. WorkSafeBC provides guidance regarding health and safety responsibilities for remote-work arrangements and outlines that at minimum, the policy should require employees to assess their workspace and report any potential hazards to their managers. Employers should also consider:

  • Protocols for evacuating from the workers home to a safe location if needed and how workers can contact you in case of emergency;
  • Safe work practices and how to report any work-related incidents or injuries;
  • Communications protocol and procedures for check-ins if a worker is working alone or in isolation;
  • Requirements for education and training;
  • Ergonomic considerations

You can find more health and safety responsibilities and specific information pertaining to BC here.


As many of us continue to transition to this “new normal”, employers should reinforce that regardless of the workspace, performance expectations and communication standards remain. Remind employees that job responsibilities will not change because of involvement in the remote-work arrangement (unless otherwise stated) and that they are expected to be available by phone and email during core working hours.


Do you need help or advice to develop your remote work policy? Schedule a free consultation with one of Pivots’ experienced HR consultants today.

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