Homeworking and flexible working

Homeworking – something that a lot of people are doing at the moment, mainly as the result of Covid-19 restrictions. It isn’t new, we as the Visionary team have been  homeworking based team for the last few years.

However for many organisations and individuals it is something that they are currently doing, out of necessity, but it could well be something that turns into a longer term, or even permanent, change in working practices.

It works for some people, but not for others.

And as we continue to journey through Covid-19 times then employers need to look at more forms of flexible working.

However one thing that doesn’t change is an employers rights and responsibilities for people that work for them.

Below we have shared several example policies we strongly recommend you consider:

  • Home working policy – exactly what it says.
  • Good practice working from home – tips and ideas.
  • Safe working practice homeworker assessment – You have a Health and Safety risks assessment in place (or should have!) for the office, you need the same for all homeworkers whether are dong so upon a temporary or permanent basis.
  • Working time and flexible working –  people have a range of issues to address in their work/life balance and the longer the current lock down goes on then you may need to explore more flexible ways of working. This document provides you with a framework on how to handle such issues.

Employer liability cover

For many Visionary members, homeworking is very likely to be a new development for the organsiation. Whilst you need to have the HR policies and processes in place to support this (as shared above), don’t miss the point that you will also need to review your insurance cover.

Whilst most insurance companies during these Covid-19 times are being flexible and adaptable they will want you to tell them of what changes, temporary or permanent, that you may have had to make to your usual operating processes.

You need to ensure that you review your employer liability cover and discuss changes with your insurer.

Visionary, working with Roots HR, have put together the below high level guidance in this area.

We would anticipate that implications in respect of employer liability cover will vary from insurer to insurer but that as guiding principles, employers should:

  • always notify your insurer of any changes to business activities, turnover, numbers of staff, operating locations and any other information required usually under their policies
  • risk assess their activities and record them on a risk assessment document – this would obviously include home working but also potentially even being on furlough leave (since the duty of care continues)
  • ensure your insurer knows the premises from which your activities are carried out – this will include employees who are home working.  Insurers may want some information about numbers of home workers, geographic areas etc.
  • understand the level of cover (and any exclusions) offered under your policies in respect of home working
  • ask the insurer if there is any other information they require in view of the current circumstances
  • keep all of the above under review and update the insurers when there are any substantive changes.

It will vary from insurer to insurer as to if any of this will have any implications for premiums or excesses.

As Visionary we are aware that the current situation causes a whole range of issues in supporting people.

Visit our People and Returning to work post Covid-19 lockdown page for further guidance and downloadable resources for support on HR issues and managing and supporting your people effectively.

In the meantime please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss how we can support you.

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