Over the past year, an area of expansion in businesses worldwide has been homeworking. In March 2020, we were told by our government to work from home if possible and over a year later this remains the overarching message. Like any aspect of business, there are pros and cons to remote working for employers and employees alike. A large benefit for businesses is the reduction in overhead costs caused by absence from the office, as well as increased productivity among staff. For employees, many have saved time and money through their lack of commute and have noticed an improved work-life balance as a consequence.
Employers have become more flexible, and many have decided to implement a hybrid way of working between the office and home going forward. Some of the drawbacks to home working include a loss of control, lack of space for some to work in their home, an issue surrounding data protection and the need for greater levels of trust. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure those working remotely have a satisfactory homeworking set up and are able to do their job well from home.
It is important to have a homeworking policy or agreement in place so there is no ambiguity surrounding the topic. Therefore, employees are aware if the conditions of their remote working and can carry out their role effectively. Furthermore, employment contracts may need to be updated to reflect the changes in working; especially if an employee’s principal place of work is their home or the employer’s premises. It is also important to stipulate whether expenses for things like electricity, heating and technology is covered by you or the employee. You will also need to decide how to performance manage remotely and ensure that all employees are aware of what is expected and required of them. Homeworking or hybrid working can work brilliantly for businesses when managed correctly and greater flexibility in the workplace is growing as a result of the pandemic.