Odd, No Spring Break This Year?

April 03, 2023
Inside HR
HR Compliance
Read time: 3 mins

Are your employees who are working parents, those with school-aged children, excited by the signs of Spring? Have you seen the usual excitement around planned time off? Warmer weather is usually enough to bring a smile to the face of a Midwesterner. Add talk of a destination vacation, and we are beaming. What if the usual requestors aren’t talking about Spring Break 2023? Did their kids age out of the program? Or … has something changed?

If you allow your employees to work from home, whether regularly or occasionally, perhaps you see a trend of “personal circumstances” where employees ask to work from home. No reason to sound the alarm for a day here or there. But for a whole week? Odd timing? If you said "yes," your employees might be taking advantage of the work-from-home privilege to participate in a few extra away-from-home trips.

So, what can you do, or should you do? Some employers may intentionally overlook these "minor" rule violations. The work is getting done, and the employee is happy. They returned unscathed and without it being noticed. No harm, no foul, right? The risk conscious will worry. Rightfully so. What if they get hurt? What if someone steals their company equipment? What if there is a cyber-security breach? What if they can’t return due to some unforeseen natural disaster? What if …

The answer … make sure you set clear expectations. Allow your policies to save the day. Below are a few policies that might require your attention.

  • Work from Home—Is approval required to work in a specific location, such as a home residence?
  • Personal Information—Are employees required to maintain accurate personal information records, like their home addresses?
  • Relocation & Transfers—Are employees required to secure approval before relocations or transfers that will cause them to work in a different location?
  • Time Away from Work—Are employees required to report absences?
  • Payroll & Timekeeping— Are employees required to account for their productive work time correctly?
  • Hours of Work—Are employees required to fulfill their responsibilities during certain hours of the day?
  • Use of Company Property and Equipment—Are employees prohibited from taking company property and equipment to unauthorized locations and using it on unauthorized networks?
  • Bring Your Own Device—Are employees prohibited from using personal equipment for work?
  • Confidentiality—Do employees have access to confidential or proprietary information, and are they required to safeguard that information?

This is not an exhaustive list, but it will likely help employers with an initial audit of existing policies to ensure some of the necessary safeguards are in place. This will be helpful and time well spent if an employee quietly slips away to the coast to "work from home" no matter the time of year.