Managing employees working from home

Managing employees working from home

An area of employment law which is gaining more ground is the issue of managing employees working from home. In fact I have been asked by a number of clients about this issue given more employees are making flexible working requests to work from home. It is important that employers are aware of how to manage employees working from home and using their own devices.

Homeworking is a type of flexible working which, depending on the agreement between employer and employee, can be also used in conjunction with other arrangements such as flexible hours, working part-time, term-time working or the employer’s core hours.

The proportion of workers in the UK who work entirely from home is still relatively low, although the numbers are increasing. Employers need to be well equipped to manage employees who are working from home, and there are many factors to be considered before this can be offered.

Employers can be reluctant to allow this due to the fact that they feel they cannot monitor their employees’ work and productivity levels, although with modern working practices this can arguably be done no matter where an employee is based.

Before introducing remote working you will need to consider the various factors, including:

  • Are your contractual provisions up to date to allow for working from home?
  • Have you considered the data protection issues of employees working remotely?
  • How will you monitor the health and safety of employees?
  • Have you spoken with the employee with regards any tax implications?

An issue which is often connected with remote working is BYOD (bring your own device). Allowing employees to BYOD will save money for employers and has the potential to increase productivity and employee engagement.

Understandably, this increased freedom for employees brings with it a number of potential headaches for employers, such as:

  • Loss of control of company data;
  • Security risks; and
  • Reduced ability to monitor the use and misuse of data.

Employers should consider what practical steps they might wish to take in order to manage the risks associated with employees using their own devices. Employers should audit and assess the risks including, but not limited to, how data is stored and how employees might blur the lines between business and personal use. Furthermore, suitable security measures should be in place such as encryption and PIN numbers.

If you would like to speak about managing employees working from home, then please get in touch with our employment team.

Photo by marin, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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