HOME SWEET HOME OFFICE
As businesses have begun to come to terms with more extensive out of office working these new working arrangements which, in theory should benefit both employer and employee, need to carefully managed and explained to all.
One important aspect for businesses to consider is the new workplace and should there be any guidelines as to how the home office should work. Homes not blessed with a room designated as an office and looks as such are the majority and care needs to be taken as to how this managed. Bedrooms doubling up as offices were all the rage at the start of the pandemic but both parties soon realized that this is not a satisfactory solution as we all saw how uninspiring these rooms were –after all you are mostly in there with your eyes shut and they are not meant to be offices. Did not see many with mirrors on the ceiling.
Discreet designated working areas therefore need to be arranged. Most businesses will not pay for any building work/alterations but environments where sensitive issues can be discussed need to be available. If this is not available then office work may be the best solution. A houseful of students/young starters on their business careers is not an ideal workplace.
It would appear reasonable as part of the move towards more working outside the office that office furniture designed to meet specific health needs should also be provided along with ensuring that all IT equipment including mobiles, printers and other accoutrements are also fit for purpose and designed to be used for sustained use. After all these items are provided in the workplace and the home is becoming a workplace.
As we can see there is plenty to think about when deciding on more flexible working as a route forward in the businesses evolvement. IT security and security in general are other issues that will be extremely important to address. Home security needs to addressed, the appropriate levels of insurance agreed and IT security needs to be reinforced. Simple things such as password management, storage of equipment and on a bigger scale migration to the cloud is thought to be far more secure than using rooms full of servers.
In setting up home offices/working the home resident needs to get advice as to whether this constitutes a change in use and therefor has council tax implications. This is all getting serious and the HR role in understanding issues, often personal in nature needs to carried with the background that this is designed to assist both the business and the employee to work more effectively and efficiently.