How to implement a work from home policy
Views can vary about whether a work from home policy is effective, but many employers agree that people can be more productive when working away from an office environment.
David Lynes of UniqueIQ explains more about the benefits of home working and how to implement a work from home policy.
Working from home also gives people a better work-life balance and staff often appreciate the flexibility and trust from senior managers. This helps create an effective working culture for both staff and management.
However, it is important to have a work from home policy in place, so that both employer and employee know what is expected of them.
What are the advantages of homeworking?
For business owners and managers alike, there are many advantages to homeworking:
• Cut overheads of business rates, rents and utility bills by reducing office space.
• More employees want or need flexibility in where they work and offering this can help to retain staff and keep them happy
• Reduced commuting costs
• Enables and encourages people with disabilities to work
• Better work-life balance and improved job satisfaction
• Employers reporting increased productivity from homeworkers.
What to look at when you introduce home working
Every worker is different and what works for one, may not work for others, so it’s important to look at how productive each individual is (or is likely to be) when working from home. Some people need a strict routine to produce results.
You’ll need to look at equipment requirements. Will you ask your employee to use their own computer, or will you provide a laptop. Are there health and safety implications around home working? You might need to review hazard risks.
Other issues include data protection and security. If information and documentation will need to be taken outside of the company, what are the risks? Who might enter your employee’s home and see this information? How will you get documents back if the employee leaves?
Many organisations use software that tracks employee input, but if this isn’t suitable for your line of work, how will you ensure your employees are working to optimum levels? You should think about how often you will need contact with home workers, even if it’s just by email.
You should also check your employees’ motivations for working from home. For example, they need to be productive and engaged in their work, so working from home is not a suitable alternative to hiring proper childcare.
You would need to make it clear in your working from home policy that you expect employees to treat their working day at home as though they were at the office.
Wording your work from home policy
The more detailed your policy is, the easier it will be to sort out any disagreements regarding an employee’s rights
The policy should also outline the working hours you expect from anyone working from home, which is why it’s so important to be able to monitor performance. If you require regular updates you should state whether the employee would be required to come into the office and how often.
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