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Q: We are thinking of allowing some employees to work from home. What do we need to think about?

A: Remote working can be a very positive move for some employees giving them increased work life/balance and saving on the time they spend travelling to and from work, not to mention the cost. There are obvious benefits for you, the employer as well, with reduced overheads and happier, more motivated employees.

There is no doubt that the number of people working from home is on the increase but there are one or two negatives that you should also consider such as having less control over your employees, potential damage to team-working, employees possibly being distracted by home issues and being ever-dependent upon IT to keep in contact. Employees may also consider there are negatives such as feeling pressured to work longer hours to “prove” they’ve been working and perhaps feeling isolated from their work colleagues.

We recommend setting down the detail of how you want the arrangement to operate in a Homeworking Policy then it will be clear for all. Some things to consider are:
  • What requirement will there be for employees to attend the office?
  • What changes will need to be made to the contract of employment?
  • If they are based at home, who will pay the travel costs when they are required to attend the office?
  • Health and safety arrangements including risk assessments of the work area will need to be made and carried out.
  • How will you keep in contact with the employee and keep them part of the team?
  • How will you ensure their home commitments do not interfere with their work responsibilities?
  • What equipment or furniture will need to be provided if any?
  • What about insurance of company equipment?
  • How will you deal with data protection issues such as ensuring any IT equipment is secure, confidential documents, networks etc?
  • How long will the arrangement continue?
Requests for homeworking could be processed through the Company’s Flexible Working Policy.

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