Working from home – what should employers be thinking about?
It’s clear that for many employees working from home is likely to continue for an extended period.
We’ve listed the following key points employer’s should consider while employees are working from home. They’re not rocket science, but hopefully they’re a helpful reminder!
- Communicate with staff regularly to ensure they do not feel isolated, this can be done via video calls/phone.
- Ask employees about how they might improve their working from home arrangements.
- Ensure each employee feels the work they’re being asked to do at home can be done safely.
- Consider employee’s needs and any adjustments that could be made, e.g. flexible hours for those with childcare responsibilities, long-term health condition or a disability (reasonable adjustments might be required for an employee who has a disability).
- Employers still have a duty to carry out risk assessments of the working environment. In the current unprecedented time employees can carry out risk assessments via a video call/phone with their employer. The Health and Safety Executive provides information on carrying out risk assessments and videos on how to display your screen etc. Here’s a link:
- Ensure employees have the right equipment to work safely.
- There is no express obligation on employers to pay for employees home office set up unless there is a provision in their employment contract providing for this.
- Employees may want to discuss the possibility of recovering any costs or expenses they’ve incurred as a result of working from home. Employers may want to consider having a policy to cover this.
- Regularly check IT systems and arrangements for working from home are working and make any improvements as and when necessary.
- Computer/ laptops should be encrypted.
- Encourage employees to log out and turn off their computers/ laptops on a daily basis.
- Ensure computers/laptops have backups.
- Ensure staff keep hard copy documents secure.
- Ensure you check the security of video calls with employees or clients – if you are leading the call then you will be the data controller under data protection.
- Check your insurance details to ensure that you’re covered for an employee working from home if they are using business equipment.
- Remind employees to check there are no issues with them working from home with their home insurer, mortgage provider or landlord.
- It is likely that a lot of employees are experience high stress and anxiety at the moment. Employers have a duty of care to support staff and must do all they can to support their wellbeing. Further information can be found here:
- Remind employees to take regular breaks.
- Ensure employees have a means of raising mental health issues with their employer.
- Do something social with staff e.g. quizzes, games or virtual drinks via a video call.
If you would like further advice relating to the above or any other employment advice we would be happy to assist.
Posted on May 21, 2020