Making working from home arrangements
Employers and employees should be practical, flexible and sensitive to each other's situation when working from home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
For the latest government guidance:
- in England, see advice on going to work during COVID-19 restrictions on GOV.UK
- in Scotland, see Scottish Government advice on working from home
- in Wales, see Welsh Government advice on working from home
Deciding on working from home arrangements
There might be a need for ongoing changes to working arrangements during the pandemic. For example, because of changes to government rules or employees' circumstances.
When making decisions about working from home, it's important employers and employees communicate regularly. For example, to discuss:
- which roles can and cannot be done from home
- who may or may not want to work from home
- any concerns and how best to handle them
This can also help make sure that decisions about working from home are fair and follow discrimination law.
Employers should also talk with any trade union or other employee representatives. If an employer has an existing agreement with a recognised trade union about working from home, for example an agreed homeworking policy, they must consult the trade union if they're considering any changes.
Find out more about:
Pay and terms and conditions
An employee's pay and other terms and conditions of their employment stay the same, apart from having to work from home on a temporary basis.
Employees working from home are still covered by the law on working hours.
Employers should talk to their employees and any representatives about who will cover any extra costs employees might have when working from home.
If a homeworking expenses policy has been previously agreed with a trade union, the employer must agree any changes with the union.
Checking insurance cover
Employees should check there are no issues with them working from home, with their:
- home insurer
- mortgage provider or landlord
It's a good idea for employers to remind their employees to check this. Employers should also make sure their insurance covers employees working from home.
Equipment and technology
It's important for employees to have the right equipment and technology needed to work from home effectively. This can also help avoid extra stress.
Things employers, employees and any representatives should agree on include:
- what's needed to do the job, for example a reliable and secure internet connection or a suitable desk and chair
- who will provide or cover the costs of equipment and repairs
- technical support for setting up any new equipment or technology, including any training
Employers should have clear policies around work equipment and technology, including:
- how to report any issues and to who, for example the IT team
- how they will monitor use and handle information
- rules around data protection and cyber security
- what to do if a work device is lost or stolen
Employers should regularly check with employees to assess how technology and equipment is working, and make any improvements. For example, checking:
- IT systems are handling the number of staff working remotely
- the level of IT support needed for homeworkers
- any extra equipment that might be needed from time to time, for example headsets or stationery
Having a homeworking policy
Having a homeworking policy helps everyone to know:
- how people will be set up to work from home, including how the employer will carry out risk assessments
- who will provide and pay for equipment
- how homeworkers will be managed
- how things like expenses, tax and information security are handled
- the employer's approach to homeworking in non-emergency situations
If a homeworking policy has been previously agreed with a trade union, the employer must agree any changes with a trade union representative.