Introduction to this document

Homeworking policy

With an increasing trend towards homeworking arrangements, if you grant this benefit to any of your staff, whether on a part-time or full-time basis, you need to ensure you set out in the staff handbook how the scheme will operate in practice. Otherwise, you could end up finding you have created a monster which you can’t control.

Home alone

Whilst employees with 26 weeks’ continuous employment have the right to request flexible working, and this includes the right to request to work from home, there’s no absolute right for an employee to demand to work from home either for the whole or part of their working time. That said, where you receive a flexible working request, you are under a duty to seriously consider it and deal with it in a reasonable manner and you also need to be particularly aware of the risk of a possible indirect sex discrimination claim in relation to a woman returning from maternity leave. Homeworking may also be a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010 for an employee with a disability. If you want to ensure that your staff are productive when working from home and that the arrangement works for the benefit of your business, then you need to put in place a Homeworking Policy statement setting out your rules on how the scheme operates and what rights and responsibilities both you and your employee have.

Health and safety

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 requires employers to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all workers, including those who work from home. You must also carry out a risk assessment of those who work from home. This remains your responsibility and you can’t just leave it to your employee to confirm that their homeworking arrangements are suitable.

Office equipment

With employees who work from home, the chances are that this will involve them taking some items of company equipment out of the office, such as a computer, printer and telephone, as well as standard office equipment such as a desk, chair and filing cabinet. Remember to use our Use of Company Equipment policy statement to cover this aspect of the homeworking arrangement. Make sure you also pay particular attention to confidentiality, security and data protection when it comes to homeworkers.