Remote working – what should you be considering?
Since the first lockdown working from home has become the norm for many employees. No longer a privilege for the few who managed to negotiate flexible working arrangements, but a necessity bought about by the pandemic.
Many employers have embraced this new way of working and have actually seen an increase in productivity from their people. Some, such as Twitter and Facebook, have even gone as far to say that their people will be home-based indefinitely.
Whilst for many homeworking has meant new routines, the ability to go for a walk at lunchtime, save money on commuting and spend more time with the family there are a number of things to consider if you are the employer.
1. Do your employees have a safe working environment?
UK Health and Safety legislation places a duty of care on employers to ensure employees have a safe place to work. Employers should put in place risk assessments for those working from home e.g. do they have an appropriate work station? Do they have sufficient space to work effectively? Whilst working from a makeshift desk in a bedroom might have been ok for the short term, long term this could have a detrimental impact
Employee’s also have a duty of care towards themselves so it is worth reminding them that they need to make their manager know if they have concerns about their working environment.
2. GDPR and Data Protection
Remind employees about the importance of maintaining confidentiality whilst working from home. In particular, they need to be mindful about not leaving client/customer information out for others to see. This is more likely to be an issue where the employee lives in a shared house.
Employers may also want to speak with their IT department or outsourced provider about how to ensure data security for those working at home, especially if employees are working from remote IT systems.
Remind employees about the company’s GDPR policy and what they should do if there is a breach.
Keeping in regular contact with remote workers is vital. Whilst the use of technology such as Teams and Zoom is great nothing beats the occasional human interaction so consider staggered visits to the office where possible and safe to do so.
Using tech for both work and social connections has been a game-changer during the last few months but many of us have experienced a level of zoom fatigue so be mindful about how many online meetings are being held and consider having non-zoom days.