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March 17, 2020

Top Tips for Homeworking as a Requirement of your BCP

‘Everyone should work from home if they can’ – that’s according to PM, Boris Johnson. If your business can allow homeworking, what key considerations do you need to make?

Read our top tips to make sure these short-term periods of homeworking are successful and keep your employees as safe as possible. 

Factors to consider about homeworking

Team-working

In a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) situation, the decision to move to homeworking has number of trigger points. In all circumstances, your team dynamics will be affected, and this could increase stress levels. As such, it’s important to ensure those homeworking still feel part of the team and have access to their colleagues and managers through various communication routes.

These might include:

  • Regular communication channels such as phone calls and emails.
  • Collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Asana.
  • Social media platforms like WhatsApp, or Facebook messenger for smaller businesses.   

Be conscious that those who are homeworking may be impacted by pets, children and other external factors. Their normal working hours may therefore need to be relaxed, and team calls might be better scheduled at 10am rather than 9am to allow the homeworker to be ready to fully participate in the meeting, avoiding undue pressure. 

And remember, when managing their work, your focus should be on output – not input. I.e. asking ‘have they completed all their tasks to the required standard?‘ is more important than asking ‘did they sit at their desk from 9am until 5pm?’ 

Workspace

Some of these short-term homeworkers may have desks and suitable chairs in their homes. However, it’s likely that many will be working from kitchen tables or similar. Whilst not ideal for longer term homeworking, these facilities will not cause major issues for most. But be conscious of anyone with existing medical conditions which could be affected by these less than ideal working conditions – you should deal with these employees on a case-by-case basis. 

Key Tips for short-term homeworking

  1. Where possible, work at a desk with an adjustable chair, like those provide in the workplace. 
  2. If the above isn’t possible, choose a table or work surface that can be kept clear and where the laptop keyboard is at the same height as the elbows when seated. 
  3. Ensure the laptop and other charger cables are routed away from main walkways 
  4. Don’t be a stranger! Keep in touch with colleagues in the office or homeworking. 
  5. Working from home may require relaxed working patterns, so try not be bound by ‘normal’ office hours.
  6. Employees with a long-term medical condition who may be impacted by their home-based work station need to speak with their manager.

If temporary homeworking arrangements become extended, a more detailed risk assessment will be required and arrangements for homeworking will need to be reviewed. 

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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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