Creating a Working from Home Policy

Statistically one of the most sought after attractions employees are looking for from employers is having the option to work from home as this would allow them a better work/life balance and in many cases ranks higher than the importance of their salary.   Companies who are adopting a flexible approach to a job’s location are receiving a widening candidate pool to choose from when recruiting and in many cases without the need for increasing salaries to entice a new employee to join their company.  To help companies who are thinking of bringing on board a working from home policy, we have listed some issues below that you may want to consider.   When making such a policy it is imperative to pay attention to detail, because a failure to do so can have serious implications for companies.

Is this job role suitable for home working?
How many hours/days per week should the employee allocate to working from home?
Is this employee’s temperament suitable for home working?
How is the company going to monitor the performance of home based employees?
How will the employee safeguard the security of documentation they have taken home?
How does the company regain documentation/equipment from the employee when employment ceased?
What equipment and costs will be required for this employee to perform this role working from home?
What are the costs savings gained by employees working from home?
Does the company require a policy for a health and safety check on the employee’s premises?
What is the best way to word the working from home policy to safeguard the company properly?

Is this job role suitable for home working?
When a company is assessing what job roles can be performed equally as well at home compared to working in an office, the issues they may wish to consider include: Does this role involve working in a team?  Does this role involve face-to-face supervision? Does the job role require secure document storage?  Does this role involve equipment that is required on site but can only be stationed in the company’s premises?  Does this role involve the requirement for costly equipment that may be too expensive to install in the employee’s home?

How many hours/days per week should the employee allocate to working from home?
An employee’s tasks may vary during the day/week and so a company may alternate where and when the employee performs that particular function of the job role resulting in the employee working between the office and the employee’s home which could give the company and employee the benefits of both situations.

Is this employee’s temperament suitable for home working?
As we all know every employee is different but the main personality traits required of someone to work from home is that of a self-motivated and disciplined individual who will not lose focus when there is no one there to manage them.

How is the company going to monitor the performance of home based employees?
Before implementing the working from home policy it may be advisable to utilise software that can track and measure the employees work input.  If this is not an option setting up a work rule of regular updates from the employee of daily performance by contacting by email or phone should allow management the amount of control that is required.

How will the employee safeguard the security of documentation they have taken home?
Company information or documentation may have to be entrusted to employees to perform their role, as a result a company may wish to implement a policy to get the employees to sign for the release and the security of the documents released to them stating the legal implications to the loss or damage of the material under their supervision.

How does the company regain documentation/equipment from the employee when employment ceased?
Companies who are looking to start a working from home policy need to consider creating legal documentation that hold the employee accountable for the loss or damage of any equipment that is legally obliged to be returned to the company in the case of the employment ending.

What equipment and costs will be required for this employee to perform this role working from home?
Additional cost of equipment may have to be factored and provided to employees working from home to allow them to perform their duties properly (mobile phone, laptop, printer/scanner, internet connection, etc.).

What are the costs savings gained by employees working from home?
Although there will be the initial costs of setting up an employee to work from home these can sometimes be offset by the cost saving gained such as the reduction in overheads, employee travel costs, benefits including child care, lunch vouchers, etc.

Does the company require a policy for a health and safety check on the employee’s premises?
Employers have different levels of responsibility for employees working from home and as a result it may be beneficial to companies to include legal terminology in their working from home policy that would allow them to access the home of the employee to review potential hazards or risks.

What is the best way to word the working from home policy to safeguard the company properly?
Creating a well detailed working from home policy is critical as it can safeguard the company against any disagreements regarding employee’s rights.   It may be worth engaging a legal firm to check over the policy before implementation.

Summary
This can be a win / win situation because having the ability to offer candidates the flexibility to work from home will definitely increase the pool of candidates you can recruit from, it means you don’t need to have expensive office space allocated to the employee (hot desk facilities for staff who occasionally visit the office is much more cost effective) and can therefore reduce your business costs.  The candidate benefits because the flexibility to work from home generally makes them happier in the role and surprisingly often more productive as they don’t have the same distractions that come with working in an office environment, and can often focus more on the job.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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