Many companies have had to shift to remote working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst some are now returning to the office, many businesses are embracing the idea of flexible working and choosing to work from home, or offer a hybrid option to staff, on a more permanent basis. This leaves some business leaders asking themselves, how do I ensure my team is working from home effectively?

As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers. It’s important to communicate with your employees and workers about how they might improve their working from home arrangements, and you should support employees to adjust to home working.

When an employee is working from home, either permanently or temporarily, as an employer you should consider:

How will you keep in touch with them?

It’s important to keep in touch with those working from home and ensure regular contact to make sure they are healthy and safe. Programmes like Microsoft Teams are designed to be a virtual office, allowing remote workers to share important information and communicate via live chat and video calling features. Daily calls are a great way to catch up with your team, check workload is distributed evenly and ensure that everyone is moving towards your company goals. It’s also important for leaders to make time to have personal discussions with employees, and find out how they are coping.

What work activity will they be doing (and for how long)?

Shifting to homeworking may be a challenge for many managers and employees, particularly if they are used to working in a sociable environment. Employers and leaders should make sure that staff working from home understand what is expected of them.

This includes discussing and agreeing:

  • when employees will be online and available to work
  • how they will communicate and on what platforms
  • how their work-life balance will be managed, for example ensuring employees take  frequent breaks and switch off from work at the end of the day and on weekends
  • ensuring employees are taking holiday
  • rules around storing information and data protection
  • how performance will be managed and measured – taking into account people’s personal circumstances where necessary
  • who is the point of contact if staff have any problems or their circumstances change

It’s important to recognise that some employees may find it hard to motivate and organise themselves when working from home. If this happens, the manager and employee should talk about practical steps that might help.

Can it be done safely?

For those people who are working at home on a long-term basis, the risks associated with using display screen equipment (DSE) must be controlled. This includes them doing workstation assessments at home and ensuring employees have the right equipment to work safely. For some equipment (eg keyboards, mouse, riser) this could mean allowing workers to take this equipment home. For other larger items (eg ergonomic chairs, height-adjustable desks) encourage workers to try other ways of creating a comfortable working environment (eg supporting cushions).

What No Safety Ltd, an Inspire member, has created a complimentary Home Working Policy and Checklist to help you through these challenging times. The two documents work hand in hand and are provided in a Word format so you can make them your own. Download your copy here.

The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors has published useful infographics (PDF) to help staff working at home.

Do you need to put control measures in place to protect them?

How will you keep in touch with lone workers, including those working from home, and ensure regular contact to make sure they are healthy and safe? Working from home can be a lonely and challenging time, particularly as staff may need to adjust to this new way of working. If contact is poor, workers may feel disconnected, isolated or abandoned. Being away from managers and colleagues could make it difficult to get proper support. This can affect stress levels and mental health. Managers should keep in regular contact with their employees, ensuring they do not feel isolated.

Read more about mental health at work in our article that sets out to explore the role of the leadership team and mental health in the workplace.  It sets out the truth about ‘health’ in the context of our lives today- in our Western World reality, and why it has become so critically important for us to be brave and overcome challenges that stop us from understanding mental health as an integral part of health in the workplace.  It also includes a practical 5-step approach for organisations to help make a difference.

Employers should also try to encourage workers to stay physically active outside of their working hours. This could include things like taking time for exercise and other hobbies.

Employee responsibilities

Employees 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 and any homeworking arrangements that need to change.

Connecting you

Putting you in touch with the right experts and business contacts quickly and efficiently

Find out more

Knowledge Sharing

Gain knowledge & inspiration from other business owners

Find out more

Business people shakling hands

Progress is happening already

“I like the personal contact and the meetings that we’ve had. Also the regular quarterly update training meetings as well. I’ve been to one so far but I found it very useful. We’re still a work in progress because I joined them in July, however I can see that progress is happening already.”

Stephanie Rickaby
MD, Sunflower Accounts

Goldman Sachs logo
In partnership with Goldman Sachs

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme is designed to provide high-quality, practical education and business support to leaders of high-growth small businesses and social enterprises across the country.

Watch video
Grants and grant funding

Grants to fund business growth and innovation are often available but dependent on Government and Local Government priorities. If you are interested in finding out whether your business could be eligible for Grant Funding.

Watch video

Our Partners

Download your Inspire Meet The Expert Toolkit here

Abacus Associates logo
abel and Imray
Apptel Logo
Artemis Clarke
Atkins Limited
Avagio IT
BWC logo
Boson web
confident cashflow logo
Cereal Partners UK
Engage CRM UK
HR Dept
Intelligent Dialogue
Labyrinth Computers
Lloyds Bank
Milsted Langdon
Mitchell Law
Money Corp
Quantuma LLP
RCC Town Planning Consultancy
rosemary bookkeeping logo
Securious - the south west's leading cyber security company
Shaw & Co
SWBF Finance
Wessex Fleet
What No Safety Services
Wiltshire college
Wiltshire Council
Wiltshire Friendly Society

Strategic Partners

Atkins Limited
Center Parcs
Engage CRM UK
Granted Consultancy
Green Labyrinth
Haines Watts
Labyrinth Computers
Lloyds Bank
Securious - the south west's leading cyber security company
Shaw & Co
Smith and Williamson
UWE Bristol
Weston College logo
Wiltshire Council
Wiltshire college
Edison Wealth Management