Home working - the new normal?
Whilst legislation has technically allowed for employees to work from home in the UK since 2014, the coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns led to a seismic shift for many companies, with large swathes of their workforces switching to working from home, where their roles allowed.
At the time of writing, coronavirus-related restrictions are steadily reducing and, whilst that might be interpreted as the cue for a return to the office, many employers are seeing large numbers of their staff wanting to continue to work remotely, either exclusively or in a flexible 'hybrid' approach of remote-working and office attendance.
What are the advantages?
Advantages for the employee are obvious - time saved on commuting to the office can improve quality of life and work/life balance and/or be used as additonal productive time, whereas the potential advantage for an employer is the potential to give up office space and associated costs. And, of course, as a company that can work with remote staff, the available talent pool for new roles becomes very much larger.
But what about the drawbacks?
A switch to remote working does place an additional burden on an HR department, with employers still required to provide the same duty of care for employees whether working they work in the office or at home. Given that these duties cover areas such as Healthy and Safety risk assessments and that appropriate equipment is in place for employees to do their job safely, it can perhaps be regarded as best practice for an HR department to keep in regular contact with remote-working staff with not only these duties in mind, but also as a way of ensuring an employee's mental health is not adversely affected by long term remote working.
Any other considerations?
From a team management perspective, it almost goes without saying that paper-based or spreadsheet based approaches to team collaboration tools just won't work so it'll be the perfect time to find cloud-based tools, such as BOOKADAYOFF staff leave booking system.
Additionally, factors such as clarification on insurance policy cover, contributions to both telephone and broadband costs, salary, and benefits should all be factored into HR policy.