Working from home is more commonplace than it’s ever been. And it’s important that employers are aware of what exactly their responsibilities are with regards to staff who work remotely. According to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service UK (ACAS), there are several factors employers need to take into account.
Health and safety
Employers are legally obliged to ensure sound health and safety conditions for all employees – even if they’re working from home. This should start with a thorough risk assessment, deemed by law to be “suitable and sufficient”. And if the employer can’t conduct a full risk assessment because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are required to give employees information about safety working from home or have the employee conduct their own.
Read more about health and safety when working from home here. And employers are also encouraged to take the Preparing for homeworking during coronavirus questionnaire from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Practical working arrangements
Employers can’t be as rigid about their working policies as they might have been in the past anymore. There has to be a level of flexibility with staff working from home. A thorough assessment should also be conducted about whether the employee will be able to perform all of their necessary functions remotely.
Supplying the equipment an employee needs to do their job is also the responsibility of the employer. And a discussion should always be had about what insurance policies are in place to cover theft, accidental damage or any other contingencies.
An employee’s pay and conditions of employment should not change and, unless there are prohibiting factors, working hours should also be adhered to. Read more about the finer points on working from home here.
Working from home isn’t a holiday. And trust between employee and employer is key. This can be built by having regular check-ins or conversations and implementing systems or timetables to govern delivery of work. But flexibility remains an important consideration. At home, there are potentially other responsibilities that may mean employees will need to shuffle work around. Again, communication from both parties here is key.
Employees who work without direct supervision or immediate assistance can face quite a few challenges. Keeping in touch with staff working from home is not only in the best interest of productivity; it’s also a consideration as far as the employee’s mental health is concerned. During lockdown, many people found themselves feeling isolated and disconnected without their usual physical support structures around them. Happy employees are generally more productive. And in a time when technology is connecting more people than ever before, communication is a lifeline. Read more about stress levels and mental health on the Health, Safety, and Environment site here.
Equip your home-based staff with the right tools
At Sagal, we create working environments that are geared towards productivity – whether your staff work from home or from your office. We equip workspaces to “flow”, encouraging effective behaviour through seamless office design. Browse our selection of modern, attractive and practical office solutions here.