Across the country, COVID-19 quarantine orders have forced employees and business owners alike to make drastic adjustments to the way they work, specifically the ‘new normal’ of working from home. Small business owners, in particular, are tasked with managing a scattered, scared workforce, often with minimal resources. It’s a major adjustment and there are several important things to consider.
The team at McDonough Law has been working and serving our clients remotely for years and offer these helpful tips for successfully (and legally) making the switch.
One of the most important things to consider is confidential information.
In our industry, everything is confidential, so we’ve become experts at keeping information safe while working remotely.
Most businesses and places of employment handle confidential information of some kind. SSN’s, bank account and credit card information, contact information, etc., are all fairly standard. It’s one thing to protect this information when the staff is physically together, and files are all kept in one place. Handling it remotely is a different story, altogether.
The best way to protect confidential information remotely is to have a playbook and plan, and then share it clearly (and often) with your team.
For example, you may need to make use of NDA’s (non-disclosure agreements). NDA’s can clearly define what is confidential, how that information is to be handled and distributed, and what is expected of everyone who handles it.
Your Policies & Procedures may also need to be updated to account for these new circumstances and rules. Even if these new procedures are temporary, putting them in writing ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Employees may need a refresher course on standard confidentiality protocols, or training may be required on new protocols and rules. Make sure your staff understands exactly what is expected and how to handle sensitive, confidential information.
The bottom line is that protecting confidential information is a matter of law and it must be taken seriously as your employees all work from home. Not only will it protect your clients, customers, employees, and business, but it will also provide a level of certainty at a time when so little is certain. Everyone involved will appreciate the sense of security when a plan is in place and everyone knows how to implement it.
Employee and Sub-Contractor Agreements
As you manage employees and sub-contractors from afar, it’s also important to consider what this means for your work contracts and agreements. For example, do contracts with freelancers need to be adjusted? Do you need to renegotiate an agreement with a sub-contractor because the quarantine changed the scope of a project? Or, perhaps your employees need to be compensated differently to account for the use of their personal equipment, or because their hours have been adjusted.
We recommend that you review all agreements with employees, freelancers, and sub-contractors so you can make adjustments where needed.
As you and your staff continue to pivot during the COVID19 quarantine, the work-from-home veterans at McDonough Law are standing by and happy to help.
Whether you just have a few basic questions, or need help drafting and negotiating a whole new set of agreements, our goal is to ensure that you, your staff, and your business are protected and efficient while you work from home.
Give us a call today to get started.