Implementing a home working policy

Following the UK outbreak of Covid-19, organisations are looking to offer a flexible working environment to protect their staff.

In fact, many businesses are looking to make home working a permanent part of their business. However, it is essential that an effective home working policy is put in place to both protect employers and outline expectations of employees.

What is considered as home working?

Homeworking is a term used to cover a variety of agreements. It is a type of flexible working where employees are able to work from home during specific hours or in certain circumstance.

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.

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 - 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 commuting can reduce your business’s carbon footprint.

How to 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.

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