Implementing home working or as it is also referred to, ‘agile working’ is not as easy as just getting on with it.
By now you would have already realised that during this time technology plays a huge part and getting that right is the first step. An IT expert can guide you through what is required. Having a reliable IT service is the backbone of every company and my advice would be to talk to one and get a clear understanding of what you need to do.
Once the IT is in place, there are many points that need to be considered from an employee perspective and below are the key points to help you achieve this;
• Home working/agile working may not suit everyone, an employee must have the necessary skills and qualities to be successful and productive whilst working remotely, including:
Ability to work without direct supervision
Effective time management
Effective communication skills
Ability to cope with conflicting demands between work/home/family
• You still have a duty of care for the health, safety and welfare of home workers, therefore, ensure that you have the correct policies and procedures in place.
• The home environment must be suitable for remote working, environment and space are key. If someone lives in shared accommodation, then this may not be appropriate.
• If you are providing the equipment then this will be at the cost of the business and you must ensure you factor this in. There will also be costs associated with furniture, internet access etc.
• Think carefully as to who will provide the computer, if it is the company then the company will be in the position to determine how it is used and set down rules or restrictions regarding its use.
• If there are children in the house, seek assurances that they will not be able to access the documentation, computer ect. This is to reduce the risk of damage, loss etc.
• Check your company insurance policies to make sure employees are covered for working at home.
• The employee must also check their home insurance and any mortgage or rental agreements to make sure they do not prohibit homeworking.
• Steps must be taken to protect confidential and sensitive information.
• Your data protection policy must be updated to ensure it applies to home workers
• The contract of employment must be updated to reflect the new ways of working and all relevant policies updated and implemented.
• Agree whether the working hours will be fixed or flexible. If flexible, then it is suggested that the employee should be available at certain times for communication purposes.
• The Working Time Regulations apply to home workers
• It is possible to split the way of working between the office and home (for example 2 days in the office and 3 working from home)
• If the home working arrangement is full-time, then stipulate how often and for what reasons the employee will be required to attend the company premises or meetings.
There is a lot of factors to consider for both employer and employee as well as advantages and disadvantages to both parties. However, with the correct guidance on how it will effect your business, you will be better equipped to make the right decision that not only benefits your business but also your employees.