In a time where flexible working arrangements are becoming increasingly popular, it is important to familiarise yourself with what works best for your business and your employees. Flexible working arrangements can include anything from altered start and finish times, to work location. Home based positions have become more common and can be very beneficial to both employees and employers. However, there are certain things to consider before agreeing to let employees work from home. It is important to take the following into account;
- Is the position “doable” from home?
- Can the employee work with minimal supervision/ do they have a strong work performance in the office?
- Does your insurance cover your employees working from home?
- How will it affect productivity in the office?
You also need to familiarise yourself with your employees rights to ask for flexible working arrangements. Click here for more information.
Some benefits of allowing employees to work from home can include increased employee satisfaction and productivity, reduced staff costing and reduced staff turnover. It does however become more difficult to monitor work and productivity as closely as in an office environment. In addition, it can also be harder to assess employee satisfaction and a lack of interaction with others can become an issue for some. By scheduling weekly, bi-weekly or monthly catch-ups and maintaining consistent communication throughout the week, you can limit any of these. In addition, making calendars available to all and producing activity reports can also be beneficial.
If you are looking at going down this track, it is important to develop a policy surrounding ‘working from home’ and ensure all staff are aware of this. In addition, Occupational Health and Safety requirements apply to a home office just as they would any other office. You must have a procedure in place that ensures an OHS and ergonomics assessment is done prior to any staff commencing a work from home arrangement and it is a good idea to maintain yearly follow-ups.
Working from home can contribute to a highly engaged workforce and a thriving company culture, but is important to consider whether this arrangement will work for you and your employees. Perhaps you may need to look at negotiating the terms, for example prioritising flexible arrangements over salary. Regardless of which path you choose to go down, the increasing demand for flexible employment means that providing options for employees to work from home is something many of us can no longer afford to ignore.