For many people, it’s the dream: the licence to work from home. No lengthy commute, no more supervision and all the comforts of your living room.
Employers are beginning to see the benefits, too. They can save money on equipment, office space and become more attractive to prospective hires. Both employees and employer can also take satisfaction in helping the environment.
All these benefits are making working from home more popular than ever. According to data from the ONS published by the BBC in 2018, around 4 million Britons are now working from home.
On the whole, this is good news. When Global Workplace Analytics studied the findings of more than 4,000 participants, they discovered that most yielded positive results. Employees who work from home generally report to being happier, more productive, and less likely to leave their company.
However, allowing employees to work from home shouldn’t mean just leaving them to it. Whether in the office or not, employers have a responsibility towards their staff. Although employers might think of them differently, colleagues who work from home have exactly the same rights as those in the office. An organisation neglects its home-workers at its own peril.
The Health & Safety Act 1974 states that an employer has a duty to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its employees while at work. This unambiguously includes those who work from their own homes.
If a significant number of your employees are going to work from home, it’s worth implementing an official work from home policy. This helps staff to understand what’s expected of them in such an arrangement, while structuring the processes necessary to ensure making a work from home scheme successful.
For instance, site checks on employee home offices with accompanying risk assessments can help to minimise accidents. Even while in the comfort of their home, employees could injure themselves while carrying out workrelated tasks, leaving you liable. A risk assessment can help to identify any potential hazards.
Furthermore, providing suitable homeworking equipment alongside the appropriate data security set-ups should ensure that all work related documents are protected. A work from home policy should also ensure that employees are aware of their responsibilities to protect data, documents and equipment as they could be more vulnerable to loss and theft when stored at their home.
With robust homeworking guidelines in place, employers and employees alike can reap the benefits of working from home while minimising the risks.
Published date: 25th July 2017