“Any claim arising from damage to an employee’s well-being or health could have a huge liability on the employer – so it is vital their employees are comfortable and working safely in their new environment.”
5. Monitor employee engagement
“One challenge associated with increased working from home is where employees feel disengaged as a result of new working practices,” Asumadu says. “While working from home can come with a lot of benefits, the lack of contact with colleagues can have a negative impact on employees’ mental well-being in some cases.”
To reduce the risks here, businesses should train managers in how to communicate effectively with remote workers and be alert to any mental or physical health problems.
6. Keep an eye on working hours
Employers should also be on the lookout for signs that employees are working excessively long hours as a result of the ‘always on’ nature of remote working. Some businesses use sophisticated software to check employees’ progress and performance; with such an approach, says Asumadu, employers and employees should be reminded of their GDPR obligations.
7. Recognise extra responsibilities
As part of the change in work location, some employees may end up taking on an extra burden. “Employers should review the job descriptions of employees to see if their responsibilities are being enhanced as a result of remote working,” Asumadu says.
“For example, if you employ an administrator, in the past they wouldn’t have been able to work in the office after it’s closed for the day. But now, as they work from home, they could be responsible for responding to client emails or other requests outside normal working hours.”
If the new arrangements do increase responsibilities, Asumadu adds, this needs to be communicated. The updated employment contract would need to be very clear about the new scope of responsibilities for that employee, as well as any corresponding increase in pay.