Can Work From Home Be Permanent?

The pandemic saw a lot of people take up work-from-home and remote work roles.

But can employees end up with this working relationship permanently?

And if so, what should they watch out for to ensure their remote work model is fair to them and to their employer?

We asked an employment expert and this is what they told us.

Can A Remote Job or Hybrid Work Become Permanent?

Yes, a work-from-home position, a remote work position, or even a position based on the hybrid work model (see more on hybrid jobs here) where you spend some time in the office and some time where you work remotely can all become permanent ways of work.

Employees can be asked to change their place of work at any time and while they cannot, officially, be compelled to accept such a change – the truth is that most employees want to work on a remote basis in the post-pandemic world and will welcome a chance to get out of the office if it’s available.

Some may prefer to go fully remote whereas others may like to return to the office for some of the week under the hybrid model of work.

What To Watch For If Your Remote Job Is Becoming Permanent

However, before employees celebrate the chance to do remote work full-time, they should review their contracts carefully.

Look At Noncompete Clauses Carefully

Most employees have some sort of non-compete agreement in their contract. (See an example here).

But when you are no longer based out of the office – then, you want to make sure that your non-compete agreement reflects your new circumstances.

You should check to see if working from home has been taken into account if the company asserts ownership of all work conducted on “company premises”, for example.

You should also make sure that the rules on any litigation over the terms of this clause are enforced locally to you and not halfway across the country in another place such as San Francisco.

The Rules, Mostly, Don’t Change If You Work From Home

Getting out of the office doesn’t mean getting out of your obligations to your company even if you’re on a flexible work routine.

Most of the rules and regulations found in your company handbook and which pertain to employees are going to remain in place at home.

That means you may need to be careful about storing sensitive data, what you use the company laptop for, how injuries at work are managed, and where you work from within the home.

On the other hand, employees may find overtime, breaks, and benefits change because the law requires these things to track the state they work from rather than the state their employer is based in.

Be Careful Of Being Reclassified

Human resources in the pre-pandemic world were often fairly careless about changing workers’ job classifications if they work from home.

In particular, workers would often find they’d been termed as “independent contractors” rather than full employees and this can cause you to lose benefits and some entitlements.

In the “new normal” this is less common, but you should check your job contract all the same.

Keep An Eye On Payments And Taxes

You pay taxes based on the state you work from, not the employer you work for.

So, it’s entirely possible for remote workers to find they need to pay more tax than they used to and as a result, their take-home pay has fallen.

You need to take charge of this because your in-house payroll team is unlikely to be watching your movements and tracking the way you should be paid.

Working remotely, permanently means taking some responsibility for the details of your work.

Final Thoughts

Yes! Remote work can be done on a permanent basis and it’s good for businesses and the person (or people) working for them.

But if you want to enjoy being part of the remote workforce, you need to keep a close eye on the contractual side of things to ensure that you’re being fairly treated when compared to those still doing office work every day.