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What Californians should know about telework

6 considerations for your home office

The movement toward remote employment largely owes to the benefits it offers. Employers save on office overhead, gain greater access to top talent and tend to enjoy greater productivity. You cut down on your commute and may, as a result, enjoy a better standard of living even at the same pay.

However, as Forbes notes, these benefits come hand-in-hand with some important concerns. These concerns include legal compliance and sound policies. Though the Forbes article aims largely at your employer's concerns for legal compliance, it still hints at several issues you may also wish to address:

  • Are you a contractor or full-time employee? If you're hired as a remote worker, you should know how your work relates to the business and whether you've been correctly classified.
  • Does your contract or remote work agreement clearly outline your duties? Most companies wrote their old job descriptions and employment contracts to reflect work in the office. You want your contract or agreement to clearly reflect the reality of your remote work expectations. For example, how will your employer measure your performance?
  • How will you track your time? As the human resources giant ADP notes, your employer needs to know the hours you work, including any overtime. And it needs you to take your mandatory breaks. As a result, you and your employer want a clear system for time tracking.
  • Can you be reimbursed for business expenses? You should understand what your employer considers reasonable business expenses. Can you claim your internet bill or a portion of it? What about a new desk, computer monitor or chair?
  • Is your office safe? Even when you work from home, your employer owes you a safe workspace. As a result, your employer may set certain standards for your office space and the tasks you'll perform as part of your job. You may need to present photos of your office to show how it's safe for work.
  • What do you need to do about data security? Your employer should set clear standards for information security, especially if you might be held accountable for breaches.

Whether you sign on as a remote employee or shift to remote work in the course of your job, you want to understand your rights and responsibilities. You shouldn't be confused or surprised by your employer's policies.

Your home office is an extension of your company

When you work from home, you may feel differently than you do in the office, but you and your employer both retain most of the same rights and responsibilities. You're still working for your company. Your company still benefits from your work. And if you both treat your remote work arrangement in good faith, the studies give you good odds of enjoying higher productivity, greater job satisfaction, and a higher quality of life.


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