Following the UK outbreak of Covid-19, organisations are looking to protect their staff long term and offer a flexible work environment.
Many businesses are looking to make home working a permanent part of their business.An effective home working policy will protect employers and set out what is expected of staff.
What is considered as home working?
Homeworking is a term used to cover a variety of agreements. Homeworking can refer to employees that work almost entirely at home, employees who split their time between the office and home, and employees that only work from home occasionally.
Homeworking is a type of flexible working where the employer allows the employee to work from home during specific hours, or in certain circumstances.
Why allow employees to work from home?
Homeworking works best where the needs of the employer and the employee balance out.
Businesses can benefit in the following ways when their staff work from home
- Reduced overheads, which means lower rent, business rates and utility bills as less office space is needed.
- Increased productivity – output from employees working from home can improve because of fewer interruptions than in the office.
- Wider talent pool – you can recruit from a larger pool of talent because the location of potential employees is less of a factor in whether they apply
- Environmental benefits – cutting down on the number of employees that commute can reduce your business’s carbon footprint.
How do I manage homeworking?
Homeworking should be managed through a comprehensive agreement so that both employer and employee are clear about what is acceptable and expected.
A homeworking policy should outline the criteria for assessing whether or not a homeworking arrangement will be practical, effective and meet business needs. It should also include how homeworkers will be managed.
Larger organisations are more likely to need a more extensive homeworking policy than small businesses. Small firms may agree individual homeworking arrangements in writing, but it is best practice to have a policy that covers the key points to ensure consistency in the business.
If you’re rolling out a new policy, the details should be determined through talks with employer and employees/employee representatives (where they exist), as you would with any other amendments to policies.
Protect your business
Introducing new or amending current policies can result in push-back from employees. It is essential that the process is implemented cautiously and the policy is as clear as possible.
Employline from Linder Myers offers protection for businesses when amending policies, including homeworking. The Employline HR solution gives your business access to an online portal where you can view and download standard policies. As part of the package, you’ll also get unlimited access to an employment law solicitor, all for an affordable fixed fee. Ensuring your business has the best possible advice and guidance.