While most remote employees are honest and some of the issues of working from home is working too much, things can also go the other way that offer opportunities for fraud. The easiest scheme to pull off when employees work remotely is time theft.
Even with log-in requirements or time logging project software, employees can easily be doing something else at the time they log working. Watching TV, monitoring social media, housework, home renovations, game play or even having lunch with a friend can easily be done while logged in to a work system or even used when they report they are working on a project. That can lead to time not spent on tasks leading to lost money and productivity.
Remote workers can also easily commit sick leave fraud with or without pay. It’s a lot easier for remote employees to call in sick when they don’t feel fine. No one is around to question their symptoms.
Similarly, remote employees who feel ill may not even take the paid sick leave to try and save it for another time, simply logging into the system while being laid up in bed.
Employers can reduce the risk of these occurrences by doing some of these things:
- Have a clear policy on the use of sick time and seriously consider permitted paid sick leave. Such policy should be reviewed annually and properly communicated to all employees.
- Require doctor’s notes for sick leave longer than three days in a row unless there are extenuating circumstances.
- Communicate other polices such as anti-fraud and theft policies to all employees so they understand the consequences of their actions.
Use monitoring software to make sure employees are working during their logged hours, allowing flexibility to working remotely permitting the employee to manage their distractions.
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