WD writes: I am planning to employ a number of staff in various areas of the country. However, because of the distance from the office they will need to be home based. Are there any particular regulations covering home working?
Employment law applies to home- based employees in the same way as to those who are based in the office, writes Peter Done, managing director of Peninsula. This means you should comply with national minimum wage, working time regulations
and so on and provide them with same contractual benefits as your office staff.
The obvious difference with home-based employees is that they are, in effect, left to their own devices most of the time and you cannot keep an eye on them in the same way as you do with office- based employees.
To manage this situation, you will need to ensure that your expectations of performance are clearly laid out and that you follow this up with consistent monitoring. You must make sure that employees do not succumb to the distractions that working at home can create.
If you are precise in your expectations, confusion over performance is unlikely to be a problem. If both parties reach an agreement on realistic work targets — in terms of quantity and quality — a framework can be put into place.This will allow you to review the home worker’s performance regularly.
Performance management would be the same for employees working from home as for employees in the office. However, some allowances may need to be made for people who are working remotely— for example, to account for problems with IT equipment and internet connections.
Keeping employees in the loop about changes in the business is important because it can be easy for home workers to feel detached. They will not experience the benefit of having colleagues around them to bounce ideas off or keep up to date with important announcements, so remembering to get them involved is important.
General wellbeing at work stems from inclusion and the opportunity to have a voice, so when garnering opinion from employees on certain matters, don’t forget your home workers.