Home Working

You’re a home worker if you permanently work from your home or split your working time between the workplace and home (sometimes called hybrid working).

Employers have the same legal duty of care for home working employees as they do for employees working from the company office.

Employees also have the same legal duty as if they were in their company workspace.  You must take care of your own health and safety and that of others who may be harmed by your actions while you are working.

You must also cooperate with your employers and other employees to help everyone meet their duties under the law.

Factors that should be taken into considertion prior to starting to work from home are:

Health and safety – The employer has a duty of care to its employees and should carry out a risk assessment before homeworking can be approved.

It should set out what will happen if the risk assessment identifies concerns including who will make and pay for changes to bring the home up to standard, and what timescale will be allowed.

It should also set out what will happen if concerns are not addressed and reserve the right to refuse a homeworking application.

Setting up to work from home – The employer should set out:

•  What the company will provide. For example, furniture, phone, phone line, Broadband, printer, fire extinguisher, paper.

•  What the employee is expected to provide. For example, heating and lighting.

•  Who will pay for any installation and other necessary costs, and, if required and agreed, how costs can be claimed back.

•  Who the equipment belongs to, who is responsible for maintaining/moving it and how this will be done, and whether it can, or cannot, be used for personal matters by the homeworker or their family.

•  The employer should state whether it will contribute towards costs in working from home – for example, heating and lighting – and expenses. If so, it should state how much, what can be claimed and how, and what is taxable.

•  The employee should tell their mortgage provider or landlord and home insurer of their intention to work from home. They should check that there isn’t anything preventing them from working at home – for example, in their mortgage agreement, lease or insurance.

•  The employee should obtain from their home insurer confirmation of cover should work equipment cause damage and for a claim from a third party. The employer should say if it will pay the extra if the employee’s premium rises as a result.

•  Work property and a claim by a third party should be covered by the employer’s insurance policy.

•  The employer should say how frequently and in what circumstances it would require access to the home.

For example:

– initial set-up
– maintenance of equipment
– health and safety assessment
– electrical equipment testing
– one-to-one meetings with managers/colleagues/clients.

The employer should set out how staff working from home should store and transmit documents and information.

Other considerations employers should consider when agreeing to home working as part of the working from home risk assessment are:

•  Stress and poor mental health by working from home

•  Using computers and laptops at home

•  The home working environment