Should you put a remote work policy in place?

Keith Canavan

March 03 2020

If you own a smartphone, laptop, or any device that can source news, you’ll be well aware that the number of coronavirus cases worldwide continues to grow. A knock-on effect for employers is that they face the possibility of having to ask employees to work from home.

A recent HR survey has revealed that one in four Irish employees now work remotely and that the number of employees in the ‘flexi-workforce’ has increased by 50 per cent in two years.

Forecasts say this figure is only going to rise and with a new EU Directive on work-life balance scheduled to take effect in the coming years, remote work is likely to be something more and more businesses will need to consider in the near future. 

Does your insurance cover remote workers?

The first question to ask is will your employer’s liability cover remote workers. Check with your insurance company to confirm the position on remote workers. Failure to inform domestic insurers about remote workers could invalidate an insurance policy.

Remote work risks

The best way to minimise the risks associated with remote working is to put a clear policy in place and to communicate it effectively to employees.

A remote work policy will need to address the following issues along with any other risks that are specific to your business:

  • Confirmation that remote work arrangements are provided only at the discretion of the employer.
  • How to request a home working arrangement.
  • The methods of communication to be used while working remotely.
  • Trial periods to evaluate the suitability of a remote work arrangement.
  • Who provides the IT equipment computer/laptop, phone, internet connection?
  • Confirmation of the employer’s liability to pay various costs associated with home working.
  • A health & safety risk assessment to ensure the employee’s remote work location complies with health & safety regulations.
  • Confirmation of security and confidentiality rules.
  • Rules on the secure use of IT equipment.

The upside of remote work

With unemployment remaining low, employers are under pressure to attract and retain staff. Offering flexible work options like remote work is an alternative way to reward staff without increasing salaries.

As many businesses are now offering remote work options to their employees, companies that fail to respond may find it more difficult to attract and retain staff.

Need our help?

If you would like further complimentary advice on remote work from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night. Call us on 1890 252 923 or request a callback here.

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