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Checklist for Employers: Preparing for home working

The Covid-19 pandemic is causing many businesses to make preparations in order to cope with a greater number of staff needing to work from home.

In fact, some businesses will have never implemented home working at all before, so the idea of having to adapt quickly to accommodate this new way of operating can seem daunting.

Here are some key considerations to bear in mind:

1. Get your systems in order

Inevitably, implementing home working “en masse” will require additional programmes, software and devices to be rolled out to employees. Consider putting together a series of “How To” guides and make these available from a central place, to ensure that your IT team isn’t overrun with requests for information about how to use this new technology.

For many organisations, security will be a particular concern, so ensure all employees know how and where to report any cyber security issues to the business, including what they should do if their device is lost or stolen.

Sadly, it may be that cyber criminals look to prey on widespread concerns about the coronavirus, sending “phishing” emails on the subject to try and trick others into clicking on bad links. Warn employees of this particular risk and of the need to remain vigilant, wherever they are working.

2. Check your internal policies

Ensure you have a home working policy in place, and review it to check it is up to date and relevant. For example, we now know that schools across the UK are going to be closed from next week, so consider including a new section in the policy which sets out the business’ position on how it recommends employees with children manage their working time.

3. Remind employees of their confidentiality and data protection obligations

It may be necessary for some employees to still take home hard copies of documentation which is confidential, or which contains personal data. Remind all staff of the need to put in place arrangements at home to ensure that this documentation is not disclosed or handled incorrectly.

This might involve requiring employees to use lockable bags when transporting the documentation between the office and home, and advising employees to keep such documentation out of sight of other members of the family who may also be at home. In addition, refer employees to any existing data protection or home working policies the business has in place, for more information on their obligations.

4. Stay in

The Covid-19 pandemic is causing many businesses to make preparations in order to cope with a greater number of staff needing to work from home.

In fact, some businesses will have never implemented home working at all before, so the idea of having to adapt quickly to accommodate this new way of operating can seem daunting.

5. Don’t forget health and safety

For those working only temporarily from home, businesses do not need to carry out home workstation assessments, but consider nevertheless providing staff with a checklist or other information (perhaps from the HSE website) to enable them to complete their own basic assessment at home.

Encourage those using display screen equipment at home to take regular rest breaks, to move and stretch, and to regularly change their working position in order to avoid bad posture.

For more information on any of the above, or for advice in dealing with any more specific home working issues, please contact Ashfords’ Employment and Immigration Team.

 

 

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