Never even in the wildest dreams would have imagined the possibility of remote employees becoming mainstream. Probably that’s why we don’t give thought into the work ethics of these employees. Neither is there a debate on how the work ethics are different for remote employees from regular employees. However, the COVID-19 crisis has turned the tables, and now the norm is to work from home.
Technology giants like Microsoft, Facebook, and Google have asked their employees to continue working until the end of this year. If the pandemic continues to spread, almost every company in the world might follow suit too. And this means companies need to start paying attention to the ethics that guide their remote employees at the time of this paradigm shift!
Confidentiality of Information
While you are at work, your company can impose information security measures to ensure you cannot send out information beyond your intranet. Thet can also track all the sources from where the confidential data has been accessed. But, this is possible only if you’re connected to the in-house network. However, this cannot be done while you connect to the internet using your home Wi-Fi as it breaches privacy laws.
This means your company cannot track down any compromise on data security. It thus puts you in a position of responsibility where you need to make sure there is no information slip. Protecting customer data and adhering to the company’s information confidentiality is important.
Work Hour Commitment
While you have the freedom to work from your home, it doesn’t mean that you get to violate the code of conduct. It is important to respect the work hours, deliver as per commitment, and follow the company policy at all times. While you might not need to dress up in work clothes, it will help if you have a permanent work station and follow a distinction free work schedule.
This is important not just because it is the ethical thing to do, but also because it will help you find ample free time. Once you commit yourself to finish work within stipulated deadlines, you will find yourself having time to attend to other things. This, in contrast to a situation where you let the work pile up and then eat away your night and weekends. If you are in a managerial role, you set a great example to your team by committing to a strict work schedule and will lead by example!
Abidance by Contract Norms
Working from home helps us save a lot of time. Most people tend to pick up a hobby class or sign up for additional freelance consulting work. However, if your employment contract refrains you from engaging in any such activity, you should stick to it.
This is not just an ethical aspect, but also saves you from a lawsuit and a lost job. The last thing anyone wants, pandemic or not, is to be on a desperate job hunt while fighting a legal battle. So, pull out your employment contract and read it through before accepting a freelance gig. You can instead invest this time in upskilling yourself and honing your skills. Most organizations help you with the course fees if they find the course relevant to your role.
Disclosure of Any Conflict of Interest
Disclose conflict of interest to your business if you have one. This is just the way you would do it, should you be working a full-time job from office. Your employer deserves to know that you are being impartial and fulfilling the job requirements completely. In most cases, they might help you move to a different department, role, or business unit to avoid conflict. This applies all the more to freelance consultants who might end up taking projects from competitors.
Besides these, all the other work ethics apply even for remote employees. For instance, you should be careful in adhering to the deadlines, have a positive attitude towards work and colleagues, be adaptive to the changing scenarios, be a dependable person, etc. While the definition of ethics might change by the role, they mostly fit into these umbrellas. And if you are not sure if what you’re doing is right, always talk about it and ask questions. But remember, if it feels wrong, it probably is. So do not indulge in such practices.