Since the pandemic started in March 2020, we have seen increasing number of employees work from home effectively. Some employers are now wanting to formalise this arrangement going forward.
Ask yourselves a big question?
Does it suit the business with achieving its objectives? Before you do finalise home working just pause and think does this really suit my business? You will want there to be a business case for making this change rather than just going along with it because the employees want to work from home.
If you can honestly say it is benefiting and not harming your organisation culture and objectives, then great. Rent, utilities etc can all be high, but managing a remote workforce comes at a cost. Please don’t feel pressured to agree to something you may later regret.
Once you’ve decided you want to make it permanent.
We would definitely recommend formalising a home working arrangement rather than maintaining the informal status quo.
You don’t want to be in a situation where employees are temporary home workers due to the pandemic, and you then want the arrangement to be permanent and no one has amended their contract of employment. We heard recently of an employer whose employee has moved 200 miles away from the office during lockdown!
To start you would consult with the affected employees about the proposed change.
Consultation should be in person, ideally 1-2-1 with an opportunity for the employee to ask questions. If they were happy to have their contract of employment varied and for them to be permanent home workers – great.
You now need to reword the place of work section of their contract. Here’s where you need to be very clear. If you make this part of the contract unclear or ambiguous it will not help you in the future when you come to rely upon the terms of this contract.
What should you consider before formalising a home working arrangement:
- Think about what will happen if they move address?
- Do you want to state their home address, so you are informed if they change it, even if only temporarily?
- What would happen if you needed them to visit clients/come into Head Office?
- Who will buy/maintain equipment such as chairs/desks etc?
- Will you have core working hours, or allow for employees to work flexibly.
- How will you ensure that employees don’t find themselves ‘always working’ as never away from work!
- Who will pay for insurance?
- Has the employee notified their house insurers that they are working from home?
- What about electricity/broadband/telephone costs?
- What would you pay in terms of mileage/expenses in these circumstances?
- Do you require them to come into the office for a certain number of days a week or to provide cover to colleagues?
- Will you maintain the flexibility you may need if someone is on holiday/off sick/on training etc?
- What will you do if they don’t come into the office when expected?
Finally, outside of the contract of employment, we would recommend you put in place a Home Working Policy and Risk Assessment.
If you need any assistance managing any aspect of home workers, please do not hesitate to call us on 01527 909436.