The trend towards more flexible working may have started a number of years ago but Covid-19 has put this trend on steroids and will have a lasting affect on how people work. If you decide that having your employees working from home suits your business make sure you have a work from home policy.
We all know the advantages touted about working from home. It can be a great way to enable a better work life balance of the employee by giving them back the time they would have commuted to and from the work place. It also enables organisations to fish from a wider pool of talent because you are no longer restricted to those within a daily commutable distance, those with child care organised or employees that are physically capable to travelling in. Finally, I know this point can be controversial, it can drive increased productivity. In our experience so long as the employer is able to clearly define the output deliverables and by when for their employees then being away from constant interruptions at work can enable them to work more efficiently.
What should be included in a work from home policy?
Oh great! – Health and Safety are here to save us!
I can imagine you all groaning. But actually, you need to take health and safety considerations when having your employees working from home. If your people are working for you at home you will need to think about the workspace they are working in.
Your policy should include assessing what equipment your employees currently have at home. It may be that in some cases you will have to supply work laptops and monitors to help maximise their productivity.
How to ensure company information is safeguarded
Remember that whilst they might physically be working at home that they will be working with data that is proprietary to your organisation. So, you will need to include wording around precautions to ensuring sensitive information is not lost and what their responsibilities are in returning or destroying the data in the event they leave your business.
Monitoring of performance
There are a number of ways to review performance whilst working from home. At one end of the scale companies can install software that tracks employee input and you should disclose this. A softer approach is to organise regular group as well as individual meetings to discuss progress against agreed outcomes.
Working from home does not suit all companies or all employees. However the benefits for both employers and employees can be huge. If an employee does ask to work from home and you are not sure if it will work then a trial period with clear objectives on both sides could be a good way to validate viability before fully committing to the change.
If you would like any help with this or any other HR topic please contact Optima HR www.optimahr.co.uk for your FREE 30-minute HR consultation.