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March 26, 2020

The Future of Homeworking: Longer Term Planning

Vast swathes of the working population are now working on laptops from home. In some cases, multiple family members, working for different companies, are sharing the same kitchen table.

The current Public Health crisis has resulted in many businesses implementing or reviewing Business Continuity Plans. As part of this, businesses have had to consider a mass move to homeworking.

So, what’s the current situation? What should employers be doing in the medium term? And what may happen long term? Read on to find out.

Current Homeworking Situation: COVID-19 Lockdown

Some, if not all of your staff are likely to be working from home in less than ideal conditions. To help them make the most of their current environment you may want to share our blog post on our top tips for homeworking.

Many of your homeworkers will be new to the different pressures that homeworking can impose on their mental health. When combined with potential additional pressures of childcare, caring for sick relatives or worrying about elderly relatives, employers need to make sure they’re protecting their most valuable resource.

To help you with this, we’ve created a resource in our HR Hub, you can find it here.

Medium Plan: Workstation Assessment

With the Government being clear they don’t have a timeline or exit plan for this semi enforced homeworking, employers will need to start thinking about how they can support homeworkers through improved working conditions.

This first stage is to complete an assessment of the employee’s work space through a simple self assessment form. For most, this will mainly be focused on:

  • Display Screen Equipment requirements
  • Adjustable chairs
  • Keyboard
  • Monitor placement
  • Lighting

However, some employers many also need to consider GDPR implications with Employee and Customer Data potentially being exposed to theft, oversight, or a cyber attack.

A detailed review of the completed assessments will help prioritise your approach for the coming weeks and may indeed help shape future business plans.

Looking Beyond your BCP

Over time, as the UK Government scales back these unprecedented measures, both employers and employees will be looking at the benefits, or not, of homeworking.

Benefits 

Further, employers may decide that homeworking offers valuable costs savings – think renting office space, car parks and other associated costs.

The potential to recruit talent outside of a limited geographical area may also be appealing. This can be particularly useful when trying to fill niche vacancies that require a specialist, hard-to-find skill set.

Concerns

Alternatively, businesses may feel the enforced work from home experience confirms they need all their teams in one place. Remote working can lead to more siloed working, reduce communication efficacy, create H&S challenges, and negatively impact service levels to customers.

Considerations

Employers may see an increase in employees asking to move to a permanent homeworking arrangement. As such, there may be a spike in flexible working requests. These must be handled carefully and as per the legislative requirements.

When considering homeworking as a more permanent arrangement, employers will need to ensure they have the right HR, H&S, and IT security policies in place. Effective policies will also help frame discussions with employees if you need to refuse a flexible working request.

Moorepay customers, if you have questions or concerns about homeworking, contact our 24/7 Advice Line now on 0345 184 4615 (select option 2)

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About the author

Philip Barker

About the author

Philip Barker

Philip has worked for Moorepay for over nine years, starting as a Health & Safety Consultant in February 2008 before taking up the position of Consultancy Manager in January 2015. Coming from a retail background, both as a store manager and health & safety professional, he already had a good cross industry experience. Working at Moorepay has provided an opportunity to broaden both knowledge and experience across a wide range of industry sectors. Philip started his health & safety career after a number of years managing retail stores and holds a HNC in Environmental Health Studies, a Diploma in Environmental Policy and a NEBOSH Diploma.

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