Pre Covid 19 a little bit of home-working for staff was beneficial for both mind and spirit. Advantages include a very short commute, familiar and comfortable surroundings. You normally don’t have to dress up and you aren’t as easily distracted by colleagues at your desk.
Some businesses have always actively encouraged regular homeworking, it helps cut down carbon footprint and reduce office space. Work life balance is often cited as a benefit.
However, even amongst those of us who are regular homeworkers, most are not used to prolonged and enforced home working. Some employees will not have worked from home at all and are probably finding it a little daunting. Add to this being unprepared for the shock of isolation and the extra self-discipline required to stay motivated.
Homeworkers have to navigate the continued difficulties of children and other family members at home. There may be college or university age children unexpectedly returned. Partners, spouses, flat or housemates furloughed or made redundant are all potential distractions.
Whatever home-working used to be, the fact is that now anyone that can work from home is working from home. Most businesses are likely to make more use of home-working as the benefits are realised. Some businesses may never re-open offices choosing remote working instead.
Whatever your situation as an employee or an employer you should know your rights and responsibilities and try and make the best of the situation.
What to do
Whilst enforced homeworking is inevitably going to impact businesses and individuals there are ways in which some benefit can be gained
For example: develop a policy to protect you and your business, educate yourself and your employees about homeworking and check out our shortlist of important considerations
Home Working Policy
With homeworking a normal operating state, employers need to dust off and update the homeworking policy. Employers who don’t have a policy should create one or buy one.
Having a policy may not have been a priority for the odd day here and there, but when there are employees continually working from home, employers need to be protected as do their employees.
If you are an employer and you don’t have a policy and don’t want to create your own then we have an editable version that currently comes free with the purchase of any Homeworking Education Course, or can be purchased from our online shop here.
Home Working Guidelines
Now you have a policy or maybe you are going to write one and ask all your employees to read it and follow the rules within it.
A policy is only half of the story, there are other considerations. Employers and employees will benefit greatly from a bit of guidance and advice covering the legal aspects, Health and Safety, data protection and IT security.
We have produced a Homeworking Guide with information and guidance suitable for all homeworkers and those who are ultimately responsible for homeworkers – the employer.
Guidance and Education
Through our Home Working on-line training ensure your staff receive the guidance they need to work safely and securely at home, and in line with the GDPR.
There are lots of things to think about when increasing your homeworking provision.
As an employer you have a duty of care to your employees, this is equally valid when they are working from home as it would be in the office.
Do your employee contracts need to be changed to take into account different working conditions?
Is your IT and security sufficient to protect data and systems
How are you going to keep track of staff welfare?
Is your remote working technology good enough to ensure employees can work efficiently
As an employer you are responsible for the security and confidentiality of data including personal data
Do your employees have somewhere they can work which complies with Display Screen Equipment Health and Safety Regulations?
Most people do not have an office at home, some might not even have a table to work at or a quite space. Flat or house shares can be inherently insecure. If your staff are dealing with financial information or personal data have you performed and risk assessment on whether homeworking is suitable after is stops being mandatory.
The information provided in this post is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.