Working from home, or working remotely, is becoming more and more popular as technology advances and workers aren’t required to be present in the office as much.
The benefits for employees are obvious. No more treacherous commutes or office politics, access to home comforts throughout the day and flexibility to work hours that are more suited to their lifestyle.
This in turn creates a happier and healthier workforce who are more likely to stick with the company and even be more productive.
If you don’t currently have a homeworking policy in place, it may be time to start thinking about implementing one and offering it to those employees who are able to work remotely.
This will mean careful consideration as to which roles can be done from home as not all employees will be able to complete their work outside of the office.
First, you should consider the different definitions of home-working and which options you will provide to your employees. For example, will there be set days that each employee has the option to work from home, or is it open for them to decide as and when they will work remotely.
There may even be certain days when home-working is not permitted at all, such as the day of an in-house team meeting.
You will also need to decide how you will record and track remote working, particularly if there are not set days put into place, i.e. should your employees phone you in the morning of the day they are homeworking to let you know, or can they just drop you an email.
The best business practice would probably be to follow some sort of agreed structure so that the business can manage it better.
Many companies that offer a remote working option will also provide those employees with company laptops and phones so that they are able to separate their home and work life. This may be too expensive to offer to all your employees, and you may decide that it isn’t necessary or that not all your employees want a work laptop or phone, but this is something that you should discuss with them as you don’t want to offer it to only a few as this could be viewed as discrimination or biased.
Working from home may even require a risk assessment to ensure that there are no health or safety hazards involved in your employees’ activities. However, remote working usually only involves office type tasks such as writing emails, making calls, putting together documents and other low risk activities so it shouldn’t be an issue.
Finally, your policy should also include information on how employees will be monitored and other expectations that are set to ensure that they are still being productive whilst at home.
This may include a weekly face to face check-in, regular phone calls when they are working from home, software that can track their progress throughout the day, or limitations on how many hours they can work from home every month.
You may also want to mention data protection, motivations for home-working, how you will handle non-performance, right to withdraw and how to request to work from home for those who are not provided with the option.
Remote working can be a win-win for employers and employees and, with many companies now offering it as a workplace benefit, you could be missing out by not having a home-working policy in place.
If you require some external support with writing up your home-working policy, or you need some advice on how to manage home-workers, our HR consultants are at the other end of a phone whenever you need them.
Call us today on 0845 2626 260 to book a free consultation.