There is currently a great deal of discussion around homeworking, owing to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. As an employer you have a duty of care to your employees, and because of this you may be considering offering the option to your employees in order to prevent the spread of the virus within your workplace. However, this is not as simple as sending employees home with a laptop and there are many things that need to be considered – most importantly that you have a robust Homeworking Policy in place.
In normal circumstances, finalising a working from home agreement with an employee should include a business case, including for example details on the eligibility of the employee (length of service, performance etc), suitability of the home and whether the role can be performed remotely without any issues. Within the unusual scenario of a pandemic, the business case may differ, but it is equally important in both cases to have clear guidelines on what homeworking involves.
Within a Homeworking Policy, employers should include details on expenses and set-up (for example, what you as a company will provide to the employee to make homeworking possible) and the implications of homeworking on taxation.
A risk assessment should also be undertaken regarding the employee’s working conditions and their IT set-up before homeworking commences. Cyber-security should be a main consideration within this, particularly if the employee is using their own equipment such as a personal laptop or mobile phone.
Most companies should have existing policies on documentation and the handling of sensitive or confidential data, adhering to GDPR requirements. This is even more essential when employees are working outside of the office, to ensure information remains secure outside of the usual business base.
Our employment team at Biscoes Solicitors can assist you in creating a succinct, clear and legally sound Homeworking Policy for your company, to ensure that your team can work from home safely and effectively. Contact us today on 02392 660261 to learn how we can help.