The Future of Homeworking: Longer Term Planning
Please note: this article was correct at the time of writing, however take a look at our most recent blogs for the most up-to-date articles surrounding this topic.
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.
Many of your homeworkers will be new to the different pressures that homeworking can impose on their mental health. When combined with the 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 this resource on managing your staff’s mental health in our HR Hub.
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 workspace through a simple self assessment form. For most, this will mainly be focused on:
- Display Screen Equipment requirements
- Adjustable chairs
- Monitor placement
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.
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.
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.
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.