Working From Home

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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

In this guide, we'll discuss working from home, hybrid working, and the benefits it can bring to your business.

Working from home has become popular with businesses in the UK over the years. It can offer several benefits to your company, such as improving wellbeing, morale and even increased workplace productivity.

But, if you fail to implement it properly, it can have several drawbacks. Including low employee engagement, poor company culture, and low employee retention.

In this guide, we'll discuss working from home, hybrid working, and the benefits it can bring to your business.

What is working from home?

Working from home is when employees work from home instead of attending their workplace.

It’s most popular with industries that employ desk workers (e.g. administrators, data entry clerks and customer service advisors) because their role can be performed comfortably at home. For example, they require little equipment and are able to work in isolation.

Employers might choose to implement working from home full-time, or they may use a hybrid working model instead.

What is a hybrid working model?

A hybrid working model is a mix between office work and remote working. For example, staff that work hybrid might have a schedule of three days in the office and two days working from home per week.

With this type of working model, staff reap the rewards of home work - whilst still having time for team building when in the office.

What's the difference between working from home and remote working?

The difference between working from home and remote working is that working remotely means staff can work from any location, for example, in a coffee shop or library. Whereas, working from home means just that and only that. But this depends on the company’s policy.

Do employees have a legal right to work from home?

No, employees do not have a legal right to work from home, unless their employment contract specifies this. However, part-time and full-time staff do have the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks of continuous employment.

If you receive a flexible working request from an employee, you must deal with the request in a reasonable manner. This includes:

  • Evaluating the pros and cons of their request.
  • Hosting a one-to-one meeting to discuss the employee's application.
  • Offering an appeal process.

Be aware that legally, you can only refuse a flexible working request, if your reason falls under one of the below criteria:

  • It will be too expensive for your company.
  • You cannot reorganise the work among other staff.
  • You’re unable to recruit more staff.
  • Quality of work will diminish.
  • Your business's ability to meet customer demand will diminish.
  • Performance will be negatively impacted.
  • There's not enough work for your employee to do during the periods they’ve requested to work.
  • There are planned changes to the business, for example, you intend to relocate and the request will not fit into these plans.

Failure to manage the request properly may lead to an employee raising an employment tribunal claim against you. This could result in legal costs and damage to your business's reputation.

What are the advantages of working from home?

There are several advantages to working from home. It's important to review them all so you know whether home working could suit your business. Advantages include:

Better employee wellbeing

One advantage of home jobs is that they might increase your employees' wellbeing. Home working gives people more control of their lives, as well as saving time on commuting. This means they have more time to spend on hobbies, or with friends and family.

Moreover, they can separate the boundaries between their work and personal lives. Because they can switch off their computer and return to home life as soon as they've finished.

Higher staff retention

Higher staff retention is another advantage of working from home. Because working from home gives staff more time, they'll likely feel happier in a workplace that gives them more support.

With this in mind, staff might feel less inclined to seek a role at another business. Because they know that not every employer will provide the same benefit - and they have an exciting opportunity to work flexibly in your business.

Saves money

Another advantage of working from home is that it can save money for both you and your staff members. Whilst your employees save money on commuting costs, you can save money on the extra costs your office space provides.

For example, you won’t have to spend money on office space, rent and utilities if staff work from home full-time. Consequently, you have excess money to spend on developing your business.

But be aware that staff might have to pay more for their own utility bills if they work from home regularly.

How to implement working from home in your business

There are several steps you should take when implementing home working in your business. These are:

Create a working from home policy

The first step you should take is to create a working from home policy. The policy will outline what you require from staff when they work from home. Additionally, it details how the process works. For example, if it will be full-time home working or hybrid.

This will make staff aware of what you expect from them, and that there is a level of trust they shouldn't take advantage of. Make sure your management team has sufficient training on the policy, so they can answer any questions staff have as well.

Ensure staff have sufficient equipment

Next, you should ensure your employees have adequate equipment when working from home. The work area they need depends on their job role, but it's best practice to guarantee they at least have a desk, their working laptop, and a chair.

Whilst there is no legal obligation to provide employees with home working equipment, it could make your business harder to run if you don't. This is because your staff won't be able to work comfortably in a quiet space at home. Which might negatively impact their productivity.

Organise catch-ups with your employees

Once you implement your working from home policy, you need to ensure your staff are on board. This is why you should organise monthly catch-ups with your employees to get their thoughts. You might wish to ask them how they feel about this new way of working, as well as ways you could improve your policy.

Ensure you speak to them in private, so they can speak freely and without judgement. Remember, the policy should benefit your business and your staff - so make sure you listen to how they feel.

Get expert advice on working from home from Peninsula

If you choose to implement working from home, you must ensure your staff are aware of your policy. And that it is introduced effectively. If not, your business could face several consequences.

These include promoting an unhealthy work-life balance, lower employee engagement, and difficulties measuring employee performance.

Peninsula offers expert advice on working from home. Our teams offer 24/7 HR advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our HR experts.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with an HR consultant today.

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