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Working From Home

Published April 25, 2017 (last updated on May 16, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator

Working from home

As technology advances, employers have greater ability to offer employees flexibility in where they perform their work, including working from home.

The conditions of the pandemic popularised work from home jobs, with many people given the chance to sample a different lifestyle.

Being flexible about where your employees perform their work can help to increase productivity and job satisfaction, making it less likely your staff will resign.

Employees have a right to request flexible working arrangements, such as completing some or all of their work at home. When it comes to an employee making a request to work from home, there are a number of considerations to be made.

Ultimately, employers need to decide if the request is viable, and only refuse the request if there are reasonable business grounds to do so.

Flexible working arrangements

All employees can request flexible working arrangements and ask at any time to change:

  • Their hours of work (over a day, a week or year)

  • Their days of work

  • Their place of work (in office, from home, or hybrid)

Flexible work arrangements can also be used to change:

  • How work is completed

  • How starting and ending work are managed

Flexible work doesn’t just mean an employee changing their work hours or environment. It can also mean combining or sharing roles, such as spending three days in an operational role and performing administrative tasks, and the other two days in a sales role working remotely.

What are the benefits of employees working from home?

There are a range of benefits that come with offering flexible working arrangements. Many employers have already embraced flexible work, mostly because it makes good business sense. Offering flexible working arrangements can help businesses to:

  • Retain skilled employees and reduce staff turnover

  • Raise staff morale and performance levels

  • Decrease absenteeism

More specifically, adopting working from home policies can help businesses:

  • Offer an alternative to staff relocation

  • Expand their talent pool geographically

  • Reduce office space and associated costs

  • Accommodate employees with disabilities

For employees, the option to work from home can help them:

  • Work during their “personal best time”

  • Strike a better work-life balance

  • Reduce the time and money spent commuting

  • Maintain their all-round health and wellbeing

  • Reduce the need to take leave to fulfill personal obligations

Rights and responsibilities

Employees have a right to request flexible working arrangements, including working from home. The request can:

  • Ask to change working arrangements permanently or for a set period of time

  • Be made at anytime from the employee’s first day of work

  • Be made for any purpose or reason. For example, caring for children or elderly parents

Employers have a responsibility to:

  • Carefully review every work from home request and reply in writing within a month

  • Only refuse requests on reasonable business grounds. For example, if the business is a small and does not have the financial resources to set up remote work capabilities

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an employee’s ‘personal best time’?

The concept of a ‘personal best time’ refers to the hours that allow an employee to perform at their peak. Everybody’s personal best time is different. For example, some employees may have family requirements and struggle to be productive in the morning. Instead, they might find the nighttime is when they get their best work done.

Do employers have to offer work from home arrangements?

No. Employers can lawfully refuse work from home requests as long as they have reasonable business grounds. Not every role is suited to remote work and may need to be performed on site or face-to-face.

However, employers should try to accommodate requests whenever possible, or else employees may be tempted to seek out work from home jobs.

Allowing an employee to work from home can lead to a happier and ultimately more productive employee, showing just how beneficial building flexibility into your business can be.

For help in managing employees already working from home, or for employer relations advice about setting up staff for remote work, contact Employsure’s FREE 24/7 Advice Line on 0800 568 012.

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