Since the Coronavirus outbreak back in March it has become the ‘new normal’ for employees to work from home full time. However, whilst some employers are beginning a phased return into the office, others have made the decision to make it a permanent change. If you are an employer who has made that decision, there are a few things to be aware of…
As easy as it was to announce, ‘we are all working from home from tomorrow for the foreseeable future’, making home working permanent means considering all other aspects associated with it.
Place of work:
If employees are to work from home permanently, they will need their place of work to be changed in their contract to home based. This may sound like an easy change, but you will need to consult with them before making any changes to their contract. In addition to this, you will need to consider any mileage claims if you are expecting them to travel to other places of work.
It is normal practice to complete a DSE assessment when an employee starts work. When an employee goes to home working, they will need a DSE assessment to be completed at their homework space. It is important to ensure that their place of work is adequate and that they are not sat on their sofa with their laptop balancing on their knees. Although they are working from home, employers are still responsible for the health and safety of all employees.
It is no secret that an employee needs equipment in order to work from home. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide the equipment needed for them to carry out their role. Although providing a laptop is the easier option, it is also worth considering providing screens, keyboard and mouse’s to make it easier for the employee to work and mitigate any risks to their health, safety and welfare.
Working from home can run up additional costs for employees that they may speak to their employer about. For example, their electric bill and broadband may be more expensive as their usage will be higher. Employers should have their own expenses policy; however, it is worth considering giving allowances to employees to cover the additional usage so they are not at a financial disadvantage.
Keeping in touch:
Working from home does not mean working alone. It is important for line managers to keep in regular contact with their employees, not only to keep on top of their work but also to check in on them and for their mental health. With advanced technology, employees can now communicate with their co-workers and line managers through the use of video call. Common video calling software include Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
Its important to set clear expectations from employees if they are working from home which includes keeping in touch, working hours and how to manage a work-life balance. It is also important to know about employees’ personal circumstances which may require more flexibility i.e. childcare.
If you require any additional support with working from home, please fee free to contact us on 01527 571617.