During this Covid-19 crisis both employers and employees should be practical, flexible and sensitive to each other’s situation when working from home. There are some points to consider and Health & Safety issues that must be addressed to allow home working.
First employers should:
- discuss the working from home arrangements;
- consider which roles if any that can be done from home;
- support employees to adjust to home working;
- consider individual employees’ needs, e.g. anyone with childcare responsibilities, a long-term health condition or a disability;
- provide a temporary change to terms and conditions of employment
Health & Safety responsibilities
During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s very unlikely that employers can carry out usual health and safety risk assessments at an employee’s home.
However, an employer should still check that:
- the work the employee is being asked to do at home can be done safely
- the employee has the right equipment to work safely
- managers must keep in regular contact with their employees, including making sure they do not feel isolated
- all reasonable adjustments are made for an employee who has a disability
If changes are needed, employers are responsible for making sure they happen.
Employees also have a responsibility to take reasonable care of their own health and safety.
Anyone working from home should keep in regular contact with their manager. They should also tell their manager about:
- any health and safety risks
- any homeworking arrangements that need to change
Looking after mental and physical health
Both employers and employees will likely be experiencing additional levels of stress and anxiety at the moment. Therefore, it’s especially important for employees to take regular breaks, e.g. to avoid sitting at a computer for too long.
Employees should be advised, during contact from their manager, to do other things to stay mentally and physically active outside of their working hours.
We can draft a new or amend any existing home working policy.