Working from home

If there’s one thing COVID-19 / coronavirus (‘C-19’ for the cool kids) has shown the business world, it’s that remote working is achievable for many different types of roles and duties that might normally have been pushed aside in a request to work from home.

Necessity is the mother of all invention as they say.

If you have found yourself in this situation or know of friends and business colleagues who are, you might already have started thinking about what this actually means in terms of managing the employee, their outputs… and their behaviours.

As always, we have included helpful links at the end of this article to some further information from the regulatory bodies!

First, why worry?

Quite simply, as an employer, you are still liable for the many legal obligations relating to an employee’s employment conditions and protections and their workplace health and safety (WHS)…

even when they work from home.

The good news is that these types of issues can often be initially managed using 3 simple documents.

The ‘three must haves’ to work from home

  1. Working From Home Policy
  2. Working From Home Agreement
  3. Working From Home Safety Checklist

A Working From Home Policy will help guide broad principles and expectations so there is an understanding of what WFH is and what the general ‘vibe’ needs to be if something pops up that wasn’t expected.

The Working From Home Agreement outlines specific work expectations and rules (and what happens if these are broken) and ensures there is a written agreement by all parties.

A Working From Home Safety Checklist allows the employer and the employee to identify and mitigate risks in the home workspace (thereby minimising potential WHS issues or compensation claims)

Separately, or even combined into one where possible, these 3 documents lay the basic ground ‘rules’ for how employees will work, interact and remain safe while still being covered by employment and health and safety laws.

TIP: If you’re planning on allowing flexibility to work hours as needed, don’t assume this is taken for granted when working from home. Explore if you can use ‘JobKeeper enabling directions’ or individual flexibility agreements to minimise exposure to future claims for overtime and penalties.

And two more things…

If you haven’t already done so, contact your insurance broker to discus any impacts an employee working remotely might have on your business insurance. Chances are there will be no impact but, better safe than sorry right?

Finally, don’t neglect to maintain the ‘human connections’ that build a business culture. Resilience, mindfulness and regular team contact to focus goals are vitally important to a healthy workplace. There are numerous articles and apps out there right now to help you manage the practicalities of working as a remote team and Dr Google (or one of the partners at Quantum HR) can help you start to explore some of the options.

TIP: Consider the growing number of digital work-spaces (e.g. Microsoft Teams) to help manage your WFH strategy and whether a simple ‘Guide’ is needed to educate employees on how to work at home (e.g. managing distractions, separating work from home and getting exercise).

Help is at hand

Thanks for reading and if you’re still confused by all the information we get it…so click the link below to request a FREE 10 minute consultation about your most urgent issue.

And if you’re coming through one of our trusted referral partners, this consultation is up to 20 minutes to make sure we’ve got you initially covered.