Working from home – a win-win (if properly managed)

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For some people, working from home has become a way of life. Whether it’s full time or part time, it’s on the increase.

There are many advantages to working from home for both the employer and the employee. However, teleworking policies are often on an ad hoc basis and they are not consistently applied across the business. Moreover, there are often few procedures in place to measure productivity.

If you are a business owner and would like to offer your employees the benefit of being able to work from home, the key issue is determining the balance of benefit or detriment to the business, and taking the right steps to monitor how it’s used.

The first thing to establish is whether this is going to be a short-term requirement or a permanent part of the employee’s working week. Here are some guidelines to help:

  • Agree a clear business case for working from home – whether it is employee or employer-driven.
  • Set out the purpose clearly in writing.
  • Ensure that the employee is available by both phone and email when not working on-site unless otherwise agreed.
  • Determine whether you need to see evidence of completed tasks or assignments from the employee.
  • Decide whether the right to work from home should be written into an employee’s contract or whether it’s an arrangement that can be withdrawn at any time depending on the needs of the business.

There are, of course, plenty of other factors to take into consideration, such as whether the employee is capable of working independently and whether or not they have a sufficient space in which to work at home with all the right equipment etc. The important thing is to set clear goals and objectives from the start and review the policy as the needs of the business change.

Allowing for flexibility at work can work well for both employer and employee – you just need to ensure you’re controlling and monitoring it effectively.

For more information please contact me or your usual Bishop Fleming adviser.

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