Flexible Working

Home working has increased from 8% of all workers in 2005 to 12.8% in 2009. Now over 4 million work at home on a regular ad hoc basis.

How does home working benefit my business?

  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced overheads
  • Skills retention
  • Team flexibility
  • Withstand external disruptions

Are there any possible drawbacks?

  • Possible difficulties in management
  • Employers trust and fear that employee “will not pull their weight”
  • Loss of control
  • Employee feeling isolated; alienated from work life
  • Inability to separate home and work life

Who can apply for flexible working?
From 30 June 2014, all employees with 26 weeks service can apply. Therefore, the need to consider requests will increase as will the potential for generalised flexible working.

Practicalities
  • No express right to work flexibly
  • Agree a trial period
  • New duty
  • Consider requests in a reasonable manner within a reasonable period of time

Contract provisions to consider:

  • Place of work: Retain the requirement to attend the office as required
  • Hourse of work: Strict office hours or flexible core hours
  • Expenses: Travel to work and incidental work expenses
  • Right to enter: Ability to gain access to install equipment, etc.
  • Trial period: Can assist in a defence of discrimination
  • Right to revert: Was the arrangement a stop gap? Employers business has changed? Consultation will be required between the employer and the employee

Data Protection/ Confidentiality 

  • Who has access to computer and personal data?
  • Password protection
  • Paper files, location, transit
  • Accidental loss / damage
  • Data Protection training
  • Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures

Health and Safety

  • Stress of Employee
  • Provision of equipment
  • Electrical supply and safety
  • Accidents and reporting procedure
  • Employer must provide any specific equipment required – such as printer, shredder, computer, internet, telephone line and anti-virus software – or reimburse employee for any expenses incurred.

Appraisals and Reporting:

Informal appraisals include:

  • Day to day contact, feedback and discussion;
  • Consider telephone/Skype discussions;
  • Weekly informal catch up;
  • Employer / Employee inclusion.

Information provided by Grindeys Solicitors. To find out more about flexible working options, contact the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce on 01782 202222.

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