Offering work from home benefits is a great way to both attract and retain the best talent.
If this is something your business offers, or is thinking of offering, you need to have clear work-from-home guidelines in place to protect both your business and its employees.
Here’s how to draft a work from home policy.
How to word your work from home policy
One of the trickiest things about drafting a work from home policy is that it need to be both comprehensive and easy to understand – it’s all very well having a robust policy in place, but employees need to be able to easily understand what is expected of them.
And while employees won’t want to read through reams and reams of terms and conditions, the more detailed the policy is, the more useful it will be when sorting out any issues. With that in mind, it might be worth drafting a legal copy, including all water-tight legalese, that the employee signs, along with a plain English version that breaks down all the key points.
The policy should outline the working hours for anyone who works away from the office, as well as the company’s position on using their own equipment for work purposes, or whether the company provides any extra equipment. If the company does supply any hardware, you’ll need to outline what happens to it when an employee leaves. For more information read the government legislation: Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Here are some of the things you should include as part of your policy:
Who works from home?
Working from home isn’t for everyone. Whether it’s for personal or professional reasons, you may not be able to offer some members of staff the same work from home benefits as others, and you’ll need to identify which employees will be most productive when working remotely.
This means you’ll need work out why some employees might want to work from home, and you’ll need to put in writing that working from home can’t be taken up as an alternative to child care – a day working at home should be every but as productive as a day in the office.
If an employee asks to work from home, you must consider their request and you can only turn it down if there is a business reason for doing so.
Is any extra equipment necessary?
Will you be forking out on new equipment, or will you allow employees to access your business network and data from their own laptops and phones? If so, you may want to set up a VPN, for extra security.
Are there any health and safety implications?
Employers still have a duty of care to employees who work from home, so you might need to carry out a review of your employees home to confirm it is suitable. You may also have to take out additional workplace insurance, particularly if other employees or clients will be visiting the homes of any employees.
Are there any data security issues?
If employees will be accessing company data away from the office, you not only need to be able to trust your staff, you need to consider other people entering their property and have contingencies in place should your data be compromised.
Other work from home policy considerations
Other considerations include how you will monitor performance, how you will keep in touch (teleconferencing works well when not everyone can be in the same room for meetings), and what you will do to regain documents and hardware if the employee leaves.
Has your business implemented a work from home policy? What was included? Let our small business community know by leaving a comment.