Agreeing working from home arrangements
Working from home ('homeworking') is a type of flexible working where employees work from home some or all of the time.
Some employers and employees may find benefits to working from home, including:
- increased productivity
- a healthier work-life balance
- improved job satisfaction
- better staff retention
- saving money, for example on travel or office rent
When considering working from home, it’s important for employers and employees to discuss and agree it together.
Introducing working from home
As an employer, you might wish to:
- introduce working from home for the first time
- make temporary working from home arrangements because of coronavirus (COVID-19) more permanent
- consider hybrid working
When making decisions about working from home, it's important to discuss it with employees. For example:
- 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 the law on discrimination.
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.
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Requesting to work from home
As an employee, you may wish to:
- start working from home for the first time
- continue to work from home for some or all of the week after your workplace fully reopens
You may also want to work flexibly in other ways.
Employees can make an informal request for flexible working, or if they’re eligible, a formal request.
Employers and managers should:
- encourage and be open to conversations around all flexible working arrangements
- carefully consider which jobs can be done flexibly and not make assumptions
- work with the employee to find a solution that works for both, where possible
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When making a decision on a formal flexible working request, employers must follow the Acas Code of Practice on flexible working requests.
Working from home during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Employers and employees should be practical, flexible and sensitive to each other's situation when working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
Employers should keep everyone up to date and involved in decisions about working arrangements and returning to the workplace.
Pay and terms and conditions
An employee’s pay and other terms and conditions of their employment should stay the same, unless it’s necessary to change them. For example, updating the addresses where the employee will work.
People working at home should not be treated less or more favourably than other employees in the organisation because they work from home.
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.
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
If a homeworking policy has been previously agreed with a trade union, the employer must agree any changes with a trade union representative.