Covid-19: Work from home – policies and
In light of the coronavirus outbreak COVID-19, emergency
planning has become a major consideration. Work from home has never been so
talked about until now as the world faces a war like situation in this public
With the use of cloud technology, employees may be able to
provide productivity even if they are not in the office. At the same time, it
improves the job satisfaction and build up operational resilience. Businesses must ensure their capabilities if
they are considering allowing their employees to work from home wherever it is
Statutory right for flexible working
Employees in England, Wales and Scotland have a legal right
to request flexible working. This could involve working from home in
the event of a requirement to self-isolate or working fewer hours if they have
to care for sick relatives.
deal with their requests in a “reasonable manner”, which includes
- assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the
- holding a meeting to discuss the request with the
- offering an appeals process.
Employees must have been working for you for at least 26 weeks
to make an application.
Some of the questions which may arise when allowing work from
home may include:
employee role prohibit in any way to work from home?
One of the first steps for an employer is considering whether
the job is suitable for homeworking. Many roles may be, but others may not.
Some other factors to consider include whether the role needs:
- Team working
- Face-to-face supervision
have access to cloud technology?
With the cloud technology, the data is stored in the cloud
rather than on individual devices. This makes information accessible from
anywhere if you have an internet connection. It builds up much flexibility for
your employees to work when and where they need to.
provide right devices to employees for work from home?
Organizations need to make sure that they do provide the right
devices i.e. laptops, work phones and adequate internet connectivity to their
employees so they can work flexibly. In addition to this they must have been
given access to the necessary files/folders and drives to function
the attitude of your employees towards working from home?
While homeworking can be seen as an attractive
option, it will not suit everyone. A homeworker needs to be able to cope with
working on their own with little supervision. Homeworkers ideally need to be:
- Able to spend long periods on their own and be
confident working without supervision
- Self-disciplined and self-motivated
- Able to separate work from home life
ACAS Sample homeworking policy
Checklist for setting up homeworking
this checklist to make sure employer and employee have everything in place, and
keep it as a record of actions taken. It is set up to be used for staff working
largely from home, but can be adapted to suit other arrangements if desired.
(insert date & notes)
make sure employee has a suitable area at home to work.
make sure employee has/is provided with:
|Adequate internet connection|
check home insurance
homeworking and a claim from a third party.
|4||Employer to check its insurance covers business equipment in the homeworker’s home and a claim from a third party.|
carry out a health and safety risk assessment.
tell their mortgage provider/landlord of their plan to work from home and to
check they are allowed
to under their
mortgage or rent agreement.
check if business rates will have to be paid.
|8||Employee to check if planning
permission is necessary.
and employee to agree keeping in touch through, for example:
|Planned meetings at the main office/base|
|Planned meetings at the homeworker’s home|
|Co-operation with colleagues.|
|10||Employer and employee to agree how often the employee will
attend the main base/office.
|11||Employer and employee to agree how
performance will be monitored and managed.
|12||Employer and employee to agree any arrangements for
claiming expenses, what can be claimed, how, when and what is taxable.
and employee to agree how often the homeworking arrangement will be reviewed,
and when and where review meetings will be held – if a trial period has been
agreed, when that will be assessed, and what will happen if it doesn’t work
|14||Employer to put arrangements in writing and/or issue a
to compile a consent form. Employer and employee to sign it to show details
of the homeworking arrangement have been agreed.
|16||Employer to amend the employee’s contract to reflect the
|17||Employer to check IT support is in place
including what will be provided by who, when and how.
ACAS Checklist for setting up homeworking
The main features of a policy for staff working from home are
set out below.
employer should set out its commitment to flexibility with the aim of meeting
both its and employees’ needs.
It should also make clear that while homeworking is categorized
as a type of flexible working, employees should not assume that other aspects
of flexible working (such as amended hours) are automatically part of a
employer should set out types of homeworking that the policy will cover and
whether home or the employer’s business premises will be the main place of
work. For example, the types might include:
Home as the main place of work. Flexible homeworking with time split between
home and the office. Mobile working with a base at home to travel
to the employer’s different premises and customers. The office as the main place of work with
working from home occasionally.
|How an employee should apply||The employer
should ask an employee to apply in writing, outline the process to be
followed and factors to be considered in assessing their application
(preferably linking to a flexible working policy), say who will make the
decision, and the grounds on which the employee can appeal if their request
To find out
more, see Acas guide: The right to request flexible working
|Is the role suitable for homeworking?||The employer should set the
factors for assessing whether the role can be done just as well away from the
business base by someone working on their own.
|Is the jobholder eligible?||The employer should set out who will be eligible. For
Those requesting it as a reasonable
adjustment. Those making a flexible working request. Those who have completed a certain length of
service or satisfactorily completed their training and achieved satisfactory
in their last annual performance review.
|Is the jobholder suitable?||Personal qualities required are likely to
Self-motivation and discipline.
|Ability to work without direct supervision. Ability to complete work to deadline.|
|Is the home suitable?||Homeworkers
need a safe and reasonable space, security and privacy in which to work, and
for office-type tasks an internet connection able to support work
|Will homeworking be beneficial?||An arrangement should meet business needs and the
employee’s needs so it is favorable for both.
|Health and safety risk assessments||The employer has a duty of
care to its employees and should carry out a risk assessment before
homeworking can be approved.
It should set out what will
happen if the risk assessment identifies concerns including who will make and
pay for changes to bring the home up to standard, and what timescale will be
It should also set out what will happen if concerns are not
addressed and reserve the right to refuse a homeworking application.
|Setting up the employee to work from home
||The employer should set out:
What the company will provide. For example,
furniture, phone, phone line, Broadband, printer, fire extinguisher, paper. What the employee is expected to provide. For
example, heating and lighting. Who will pay for any installation and other
necessary costs, and, if required and agreed, how costs can be claimed back? Who the equipment belongs to, who is
responsible for maintaining/moving it and how this will be done, and whether
it can, or cannot, be used for personal matters by the homeworker or their family?
|Running costs and expenses||The employer should state whether it will contribute
towards costs in working from home – for example, heating and lighting – and
expenses. If so, it should state how much, what can be claimed and how, and
what is taxable.
employer should set out the implications of homeworking on tax. To find out
more, see HMRC’s guidance.
|Mortgage, lease and insurance issues||The employee should tell their mortgage provider or
landlord and home insurer of their intention to work from home. They should
check that there isn’t anything preventing them from working at home – for
example, in their mortgage agreement, lease or insurance.
|The employee should obtain from their home insurer confirmation of cover should work equipment cause damage and for a claim from a third party. The employer should say if it will pay the extra if the employee’s premium rises as a result. Work property and a claim by a third party should be covered by the employer’s insurance policy.|
|The employer’s access to the employee’s home||The employer should say how frequently and in what circumstances it would require access to the home. For example:|
|If the employee moves home?||The employer should set out what will happen if a homeworker wants to move house.|
|MANAGING THE HOMEWORKER :|
|Employee performance||The employer should set out how employees who work from home will be managed consistently with office staff, and given the same opportunities for training, development and promotion. It should also refer to its policies relating to:|
|The employee’s attendance at the main office/base||The employer should set out how frequently, for how long, where and for what reasons the employee’s attendance at the organization’s premises will be required.|
|Security including information||The employer should set out how staff working from home should store and transmit documents and information.|