The Coronavirus pandemic has effectively imposed a working from home trial on many businesses and as an employer, you might have noticed significant benefits from having your team at home – from cost savings to higher morale and engagement. As a result, businesses are now considering what the future might look like and whether home or flexible working could form part of the plan for after lockdown.

Our new Homeworking: HR Essentials Toolkit outlines the pros and cons of home and flexible working, the practical considerations when managing a remote workforce and highlights your duty of care obligations. It also provides a number of useful templates, letters and framework policies. Find out more at http://www.realityhr.co.uk/homeworking/.

Now is a good time to review how homeworking arrangements can be made even better, to help staff work just as effectively as they do in the usual workplace. Here are some of the key points you should consider:

Physical and mental wellbeing

Employers have a legal responsibility to protect the health and safety of employees, whether the workplace is at home or another remote location. Wherever possible, homeworkers should have an appropriate place to work, so risks assessments should be carried out and any issues identified and addressed immediately.

For some people, working remotely without face-to-face contact with others can be isolating and cause anxiety and stress in itself. Consider how you might create the means for good communication and collaboration for those working remotely, both for work purposes but also for those informal catch ups and chats that are a key part of the working day for many people, and vital to their mental health and wellbeing.

Flexible working

More and more people are questioning whether work really must be carried out between the typical 9am to 5pm. Employers should determine what suits customers best, and secondly how can their teams work effectively. But if staff work better at different times of the day, then working more flexibly should be embraced. Our Homeworking: HR Essentials toolkit covers how to manage flexible working requests.

Managing performance

Homeworking relies on trust, and not just from the manager but also amongst team members. To ensure team members continue to perform while at home, make sure your teams have a very clear understanding of what is expected of them and the implications of poor performance. But don’t micromanage – let go and concentrate on leadership, you should also focus on achievement and not hours worked. Celebrating everyone’s achievements and encouraging team members to support each other is really important in keeping employees engaged and committed.

Policies and procedures

Are all of your homeworking policies in place? It’s vital to have documents available to outline working arrangements and expectations when employees work from home. In our Homeworking toolkit, we provide a number of template documents which you will find useful as you implement home working agreements for any or all of your team.

For businesses which are continuing to work remotely, our Homeworking: HR Essentials toolkit provides easy to use guidance and resources. Find further details here, and please get in touch if you would like to chat about how the Reality HR team can support you.

Join us on Thursday 11th June for Homeworking: HR Essentials training for business owners and managers. This interactive workshop-style session will cover all you need to know about the legal considerations of homeworking and flexible working and give you plenty of opportunities to consider the implementation practicalities within your company. Find further details and how to book, here.