Working From Home During Lockdown
2 weeks ago
With another national lockdown announced, working from home has become a reality for a lot of us. The Scottish Government has made it clear that remote and flexible working is a crucial public health measure and should be the default position for anyone who is able. If this is not possible, the Government guidance encourages employers to manage the spread of the virus with staggered start times and flexible working patterns for employees.
Remote working can present many unexpected challenges for both employees and employers.
For many people working from home may be more difficult than coming into an office or workplace. For some this includes added caring responsibilities if they have children in the house and others may face space constraints or higher noise levels in a home environment. The Scottish Government has made it clear that employers need to take into consideration any extra constraints employees may face when managing their normal workload.
Not being in an office or workplace can be a challenge for people and employers should be aware of their employees’ mental health. Some employees may experience added stress from their home environment or feel isolated or lonely. Additional communication and extra support from employers may be necessary to facilitate remote working.
Technology may be the biggest challenging when home working. We have all experienced technology not working as planned. To limit any technological issues employers should ensure employees have suitable technology to do their job and are confident in using it. Employers could consider additional IT training to help with this. There should also be IT support available for employees to contact when the technology does not work for them.
Employees may incur additional costs from being away from their workplace such as access to technology, access to internet and suitable office furniture or stationery. The Scottish Government has made it clear in their guidance that employers are expected to cover the costs of this.
It is clear that the biggest factor in facilitating working from home is employer-employee communication. Employers should be available for employees to contact them with any issues or queries. Employers should provide the same level of support to their remote workers as they would have if they were in the workplace. Regular communication is key for employers to determine if an employee requires additional support when away from the workplace. Employees should clearly communicate with their employer if they have any issues.
The Scottish Government advises that employers keep employees informed of any workplace updates and should be in regular contact with what is expected of employees.
It looks like working from home will be with us for a bit longer. If you require any legal advice about your working environment – at home or otherwise please get in contact with us on 01334 654 081.