Why You DO Need a Remote Work Policy

Why You DO Need a Remote Work Policy

Though most churches don’t often employ fully remote staff members, you likely have staff that enjoy the benefits of occasional remote work: think of the pastor meeting a congregant for lunch; the worship team that plans at a local coffee shop; the children’s director that stays home on Mondays, but stays connected to email. Each of these are styles of remote work, but most churches don’t have a remote work policy in place outlining who can or how to clock hours outside of the office.

We highly recommend offering your staff flexibility through remote work options, if at all possible. A change of scenery is a proven way to boost productivity for some. Others are enabled to do more and different tasks when given the opportunity to work in a different environment. But like most things, clarity and communication is key!

You first need to determine and define what remote work is. Gone are the days of a formal workstation in a designated home office. Remote work doesn’t have to happen at home and certainly doesn’t always take place during the regular workday, especially for pastors and ministers. Determine what kinds of remote work works best for your employees and their lives. Think outside the box!

Next, determine who is able to participate in this benefit: can all staff work from the local coffee shop, or is it limited to certain tiers or positions? Identify which positions need to work all their hours onsite versus which can enjoy flexible work locations. It’s ok if you would prefer your building maintenance staff to be in the building or administrative staff to be physically present to greet and assist congregants that stop by throughout the week.

Think about the boundaries of remote work within your organization: is there a limit to the number of hours per week you would allow staff to work remotely? Are there certain days, events, or time periods you need them to be present for?  Identify tasks that need to be done in person, such as management requiring relational connection,  difficult conversations, or weekly team meetings. Make clear guidelines for every gray area you can think of so staff aren’t left questioning what’s ok and what’s not.

Plan how you will monitor staff once the policy is in place. Occasional staff members might try to bend the policy too far and need accountability, but even more so, make sure your staff maintains a healthy work/life balance instead of always working. The option of remote work does open up more opportunities for burnout, so be sure your staff members are still unplugging and taking true days off.

Now gather all your research and determinations, compose them into a clearly worded policy and add it to your Staff Handbook. (Don’t let that sound daunting–we can help!) Not only will your staff benefit from the flexibility of a remote work policy, but they will have clear expectations and boundaries. An optional, but highly recommended last step: present the new policy to your staff with a gift card to that local coffee shop around the corner. They might be spending a little more time there!

Original content by HR Ministry Solutions. This information is provided with the understanding that Payroll Partners is not rendering legal, human resources, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from a lawyer, HR consultant or other professional.