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Remote / Home-working

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Remote/Home Working Policy

1. Policy Statement

We are committed to achieving the highest standards of service, which can be achieved through a highly trained, skilled and motivated workforce.  The provision of flexible and remote/home working plays an important part in making it possible to attract and retain the best possible employees.

The Company is also committed to accommodating an employee's wish to work remotely on a temporary or permanent basis or as an adjustment for an employee with a disability, should this be reasonable and required.

This policy explains how to apply for homeworking, and the things we take into account when considering your request. It also covers the safeguards that need to be put in place and the practical arrangements that make homeworking a success.

This policy does not form part of any employee's contract of employment and may be amended   at any time.

2. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to state the Company’s policy on remote/home working for the benefit of the Company and the remote/home worker.

The arrangement will be monitored and evaluated taking into account the practical issues, costs involved and the effect on productivity and quality of service.

3. Definition

Remote/home workers are defined as employees who, in whole or in part, are based at home for the purpose of carrying out their work with the agreement of the Company and are designated as ‘remote workers’. Working from home may be on an occasional, a temporary or a permanent basis and all contractual obligations, including your core working hours, continue to apply.

4. Scope

This policy applies to all employees who wish to be considered for remote/home working.  The decision to accept an application for remote/home working will be based on an objective assessment to determine the extent to which the individual is suitable for remote/home working in accordance with stated criteria and will, when appropriate, be considered as a reasonable adjustment for Employees suffering from a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010.

An application to work remotely will be subject to ongoing review in accordance with the needs of the Company’s business. Employees will be given, where practicable, 4 week's written notice of the Company's business need requiring their return to the office, either on a temporary or permanent basis. The Employee will be consulted on this prior to implementation and, where the needs of the business permit it, the Employee will be offered alternative days to work from home.

5. Company Attendance

On request, employees may be required to attend the workplace for purposes such as management/team/client meetings/briefings, training, performance assessment, client visits, business-related meetings, disciplinary, grievance hearings and/or operational reasons.  Employees must be flexible in attending the office when requested.  Attendance will normally not be more frequent than [one day per week/half a day per week/month] and the dates and times of such visits will be agreed in advance.

6. General Principles

Every employee who has 26 weeks' service may request remote/home working arrangements by making a flexible working request. For further information please see P9.01: Flexible Working Policy. If you have less than 26 weeks' service with the Company, but you still wish us to consider remote/homeworking, please speak to your manager.

The Company will properly consider all requests for remote/home working.

There is no automatic right for an employee to work from home  and not all roles or jobs will be suitable for homeworking.

Approved home working arrangements may be subject to a trial period before final agreement. This trial period may be extended if appropriate.

A flexible working request is not required where the homeworking arrangements are intended to be occasional or sporadic, but if you think that you may wish to work from home/work remotely on a more regular basis you should discuss this with your manager.

7. Particular Considerations

7.1 Working and Caring Commitments

Remote/home workers must separate domestic and work activities/commitments as far as is practicably possible.  Individuals with caring responsibilities will be required to demonstrate that the care arrangements for the dependant person do not conflict with work activities.

The relevant Manager must be informed as soon as practicably possible of any changes to caring arrangements that have implications for the work being undertaken from home. Where it is possible, arrangements will be made with the Employee to accommodate any care arrangements that they have whilst ensuring the Employee still complies with the terms of their contract and any home/remote working agreement.

7.2 Health and Safety Risk Assessment

If required, every applicant who makes a formal application for remote/home working will agree to a Health and Safety Risk Assessment being carried out at their home to identify any adjustments or equipment that may be necessary for them to carry out the work in a safe environment.

The Company will provide advice and guidance on request to assist with health and safety risk self-assessment.

Employees must attend the usual office health and safety courses, read all relevant material and undertake to use equipment safely. The Company reserves the right to check home working areas for health and safety purposes.

7.3 Equipment

The Company may agree to supply systems equipment for use at home including a telephone and PC.  [This may include other ancillary systems equipment and an additional telephone line.

The employee will only utilise the equipment for business purposes and will maintain the integrity of the equipment.  Failure to do so may result in remote/home working being withdrawn from the individual employee and the employee facing possible disciplinary action.  The employee is under a duty to report faults with the equipment as soon as reasonably practicable to their line manager.

Employees are required to return the equipment to the Company upon termination of their employment for whatever reason.

If you intend using any personal equipment such as a computer for homeworking you must check with us first. We will need to make sure that it’s suitable. Any personal equipment that we agree to you using remains your responsibility, so you would need to cover the cost of things like repairs.

7.4 Viability

The ability to work from home is dependent upon IT issues and management information systems being operationally efficient and reliable.  The IT systems will be monitored on an ongoing basis and if the system proves unreliable, Management will be entitled to suspend and/or terminate the arrangements.. The Company will thereafter discuss with the Employee their return to the office and whether, if the Employee wishes, alternative arrangements are available.

7.5 Hours of Work

Employees must be available by telephone or video conferencing should there be the need to check or clarify issues relating to their work, and be available should clients wish to make contact with the employee directly.  Exceptions to this will be:

  • during authorised periods of annual leave, maternity/adoption/paternity/parental leave and compassionate leave, or at other times agreed in writing by your Manager;
  • sickness which has been notified to the Company in accordance with established procedures.

A remote/home worker’s Manager will be responsible for ensuring that adequate arrangements are put in place for the co-ordination of work, eg, deliverables, collection and organisation.  Additionally, there must be regular communication with work colleagues and periodic attendance to the office location (unless this latter aspect is impracticable due to the nature of a disability/illness).

Regulation 4(1) of the Working Time Regulations 1998 (the "Regulations") provides that a worker's average working time, including overtime, shall not exceed 48 hours for each seven-day period (to be averaged over a period of 17 weeks).  If your working hours are likely to exceed this amount when working remotely/from home, you must discuss this immediately with your Manager.

7.6 Security and Confidentiality

It is Company policy that computer users are not permitted to load non-standard applications and other software on the Company’s PCs or laptops. You should not download any application or software without specific advance permission. 

In all instances, repairs and servicing to Company-owned equipment will only take place by persons authorised by the Company to do so.

Remote/home workers must ensure the security and safekeeping of any confidential information provided by the Company for use in the remote working environment.  Such information should not be accessible to family or visitors of the remote/home worker. Employees must ensure that all reasonable precautions are being taken to maintain confidentiality of material in accordance with the Company's requirements.

If the employee discovers or suspects that there has been an incident involving the security of information relating to the Company, clients, customers or anyone working with or for the Company, they must report it immediately to their line manager.

7.7 Location

Consideration has to be given to the suitability of the proposed location for remote/home working.  The work site has to be adequate both for practical working and in terms of health and safety legislation.  Ideally, the Employee should have a separate room or area set aside for remote working that will be sufficient in terms of accommodating all the necessary furniture and equipment.

7.8 Insurance

Equipment supplied by the Company to those working from home is covered under the Company insurance scheme against theft, fire and damage.  All equipment must be kept in a secure place when not in use. At all times, the Employee's home must be locked when left unoccupied.  Failure to do so may render the insurance invalid. If the employee's actions render any insurance invalid, the Company may seek to recover any losses associated with an employee's breach from the employee personally.

Employees will be required to inform their Home and Contents Insurer that additional IT equipment has been provided and that they are working from home. 

The Company will not be responsible, in any circumstances, for any additional premiums requested by the Employee’s Insurer as a result of the equipment loaned to the remote/home worker.

7.9 Property and Tax

There will be no change to Council Tax or Domestic Rates.  The Domestic Rate is only affected if the Employee is carrying out a business from their home.

Employees are responsible for ensuring home/remote working does not breach any of the terms of their mortgage, rental agreement or any other agreement governing their residence.

There may be tax implications to homeworking. You should get specific advice on this.

7.10 Terminating the Remote/Home Working Agreement

Where remote/home working arrangements are terminated, the relevant Manager is responsible for making arrangements for the employee to resume their work activities within the workplace.

7.11 Monitoring and Review

The number of remote/home workers will be monitored and will be subject to regular review by management to ensure that this works effectively both in the interests of the Company and the employee.

Employees who work from home are subject to the same rules, procedures and expected standard of conduct and performance as all other employees. Contractual obligations, duties and responsibilities remain in place, as do our workplace policies.

We want you to remain as involved as possible in our business and our activities while you are working from home. This includes having access to company news, events and benefits, as well as opportunities for professional development, training and promotion.

We will keep in regular contact with you during your homeworking, this may be via phone, email, video conferencing or face-to-face meetings.

If you at any point feel isolated, left out, or lacking guidance or support you should discuss this with your manager.

8. Employee Responsibility

It is the responsibility of each employee to take reasonable care to ensure the safety and security of equipment and to maintain the working environment to the agreed health and safety standards.

The employee shall ensure that there is sufficient and appropriate equipment in place to facilitate remote working. The Company shall not be responsible for the provision, maintenance, replacement or repair of any personal equipment used by an employee when working for the Company.

Employees may only use IT equipment provided by the Company or that the Company has approved. Employees agree to comply with the Company's instructions relating to software security and to implement all updates to equipment as soon as they are requested to do so.

Any equipment supplied by the Company should be used for the Company’s work only and the employee should ensure they take reasonable care of it.  This is particularly important with respect to computer equipment due to the risk of introducing computer viruses.  Company PCs set up in the remote workers’ homes are fully interactive with the office systems. 

Employees who work remotely/from home will be covered by the terms of the Company’s policies and procedures as set out in the Company's employee handbook, including the Disciplinary Procedure and IT Policy.  As there is a need to balance work and home life, Employees should, where appropriate, inform their friends and family about their home working arrangements to ensure interruptions are kept to a minimum during the hours employees are required to work remotely.

9. Visit to Remote/Home Workers’ Premises

The Company reserves the right to visit, or instruct a relevant third party to visit, the employee at home, or wherever they are working remotely, at agreed times for work-related purposes, including health and safety matters.  It is a condition of this policy that the employee agrees to accept any such visit from Management or any designated third party.  Such visits will be for the purposes of:

  • providing a channel for reporting
  • performance monitoring and feedback
  • general discussions about work-related matters
  • ensuring health, safety and security
  • delivering and collecting work
  • any other work-related purposes that the Company considers appropriate.
  • to reclaim equipment upon termination of the homeworking arrangements.

This document has been created by, or on behalf of ESP Ltd, as a general document and as a guide in relation to its subject matter and has not been bespoke drafted for you or the specific circumstances in which you are looking to use it. Prior to using this document and undertaking any HR process you must consult your organisation’s own policies and procedures to ensure that you do not do anything in conflict with your own policies and procedures.  If in any doubt as to how to use this document or, if you require any legal advice, please feel free to contact ESP Ltd on 0333 006 2929 and our legal team will be more than happy to assist.  ESP Ltd will not be liable in any way for any actions undertaken by you or your use of this document unless we have been consulted regarding your use of this document as legal advisor to your business or have bespoke drafted any documentation in response to a specific support request.

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