The Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey (BICS) found that between the 15th June and 28th June 2020:
- 22% of the UK workforce had been furloughed.
- 51% of the UK workforce who continued working were working remotely; and
- 49% of the UK workforce who continued working, continued working at their normal place of work.
Lockdown measures are now being eased, pubs are opening back up and we are now able to meet with family and friends, but as a result of COVID-19, many businesses have had to evolve and are continuing to evolve to ensure that their business is secure.
Google and Facebook employees will be working from home until the end of the year. Twitter have told staff they can work from home ‘forever’ and Barclays Bank has stated that the office ‘may be a thing of the past’.
In fact, many employers during the COVID-19 pandemic might have found that homeworking is effective for both the business and their employees. It might be that when employees are able to return to work, employers allow their employees to divide their time between the office and home.
Working from Home: What Do You Need to Consider?
- Home Working Policy:
- It’s important to have a policy that sets out an employer’s approach to staff who are working from home occasionally or on a regular basis.
- Contractual Provisions:
- Some of the provisions of the employment contract should be tailored to fit the specific needs of homeworking. For example, place of work, hours of work, expenses, etc.
- Reporting and Appraisals:
- Consider how you will measure the quality and quantity of the employee’s work, therefore, it should be agreed from the outset how the employee will report to their employer and agree a suitable appraisal system.
- Homeworkers should not be denied promotional prospects because they work at home all or part of the time.
- Data Protection:
- Consider whether homeworkers need specific training on data protection.
- The employer should carry out a data privacy impact assessment of the data protection implications of employees working from home.
Data protection is important as the ICO has the power to directly impose significant fines on data controllers for serious breaches of the GDPR and the DPA 2018.
- Health and Safety:
- Employers must conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, including homeworkers, to identify hazards and assess the degree of risk. For example, stress, equipment, accidents, etc.
Other things to consider are whether you will be providing the employee with equipment. If so, it will need to be covered under the insurance policy. If that is not possible, the employer should require the employee to take out and maintain satisfactory insurance cover.
Howells Can Help You Navigate the New Normal
If require advice on home working, please get in touch with our friendly employment law solicitors who can take you through the legal considerations that must be made.