Work from home policy
The Work from home policy provides assistance and support to employees. This is where they are working from home or working remotely. The safety and well-being of employees are very important while we maintain business continuity.
When it comes to working from home, technology has a large role to play. The proliferation of smartphones, laptops, and productivity apps has made it easier to work from anywhere. Not only does it ensure everyone has the tools and software they need to do their jobs well, but it also protects the business, employee, and customer information.
Benefits and challenges of working from home
Pros of working from home
- Flexibility: Today’s Australian employees value flexibility above all else. A work from home policy gives employees more freedom to work when, where, and how they prefer.
- Engagement and productivity: Giving employees the choice to work from home shows that you trust them to get their jobs done and it has been proven that employees who feel trusted are more engaged and productive.
- Reduced stress: One of the biggest benefits of working from home is that it frees up time normally spent commuting to the office. This in turn could minimise employee stress and improve overall happiness.
- Improved focus: Working in an office is great for collaboration and socialisation—but some workers can be easily distracted. A work from home policy gives employees the opportunity to be in an environment that is conducive to efficient, focused work.
- Health and attendance: Allowing employees to work from home helps to eliminate the spread of illness, which may ultimately increase attendance and minimise sick days.
Cons of working from home
- Security vulnerabilities: Working from home presents major threats, as employees might log on with personal devices. The absence of the traditional security perimeter makes it even more important for businesses to provide the tools and software that keeps their people and their information safe.
- Burnout: Not having to go into the office every day may sound great, but it can also make it difficult for employees to establish work-life boundaries. Employees who work long hours, fail to take breaks, or check email late at night may experience burnout.
- Isolation: Group environments are great for collaborating and building camaraderie. Working from home for long periods of time could affect the bonds that colleagues have with each other and may lead to them feeling lonely and disconnected.
Principles applied when working from home
Remote work arrangements should take into consideration the:
- fairness and reasonableness of the current operating context
- the personal and family circumstances of the employee
- business continuity
Occupational Health and Safety
Well-being is a priority as employees learn to work in different ways in this uncertain time. The Legal Consolidated policy encourages employees to contact their manager if there are any circumstances that inhibit their ability to work remotely. All employees are encouraged to take regular breaks, stretch when they are able and avoid sitting for long periods.
Maintain communication and support
Employees should be available and contactable by managers, colleagues and stakeholders as per a normal working day in the office. Teams are encouraged to discuss and agree on how and when they will communicate to stay in touch and support each other. Managers are encouraged to check in with employees regularly to discuss how work priorities are progressing and discuss any emerging issues.
Consider remote work allowance
Employees may be able to claim additional expenses as a tax deduction but should seek independent advice about this, that is specific to their circumstances. Employees may be entitled to a remote work allowance for home office consumables and utilities. Employers should endeavour to administer both the one-off payment and weekly allowance through their payroll while giving regard to their own local operating environment and systems. Only employees whose roles allow them to work remotely and who are likely to incur additional expenses in working remotely should be eligible to receive payments.