Working from home

This protocol is intended for those employees working from home/remotely on an occasional/ad hoc basis or on a more regular basis, not normally more than two days per week (pro rata for part-time employees). Those employees who are designated home workers and work the majority of their hours from home should refer to the homeworking safe working procedure contained in the health and safety manual.

Introduction

1 Home/remote working is a voluntary arrangement that allows employees who are office based to work from home or from an alternative location, subject to the needs of the service.

Employees must get management approval prior to working from home/remotely and includes completing and signing off the occasional homeworking checklist which must be completed prior to the first occasion of working from home/remotely.

2 It is the intention that home/remote working will be approved unless there is a good reason why this would not be appropriate. This may include the need to attend a meeting on a particular day, not having the appropriate equipment to work at home or requiring cover in the office to fulfil a business need etc. Any employee refused home working may take their request to their head of service.

3 As home working is something which an employee can request, the council will not make any payment to employees for any incidental expenses occurred while working from home, for example heating, electricity, broadband costs.

4 It is expected that people who work from home/remotely will have the appropriate equipment to do so, i.e. have a work laptop to use when working from home, and there is no expectation that the council must provide suitable equipment to enable an employee to occasionally work from home but will endeavour to do so where surplus equipment exists.

5 It is also expected that when working from home/remotely employees maintain the same working arrangements as they have when working in the office including pattern of work, contact arrangements, taking appropriate breaks and resolving customer queries/issues as necessary etc.

6 As it is intended under this protocol that an employee will still work the majority of their hours in the office, there is no change to an individual's work location and no change to contract is required. This may need to be reviewed if an employee works the majority of their time from home. Advice should be sought from HR if this becomes the case.

Health and safety

7 Health and safety law requires the council to protect the health, safety and well-being of all its employees, including those working from home. This protocol includes general guidance on the potential health and safety issues linked to home working. This guidance should be read in conjunction with a number of council policies set out in paragraph 20.

Manager's responsibilities

8 The manager must:

  • ensure that before an employee begins working from home that the occasional home working checklist is completed to ensure that the home is a safe place to work
  • ensure that the equipment supplied by the council is subject to testing and is suitable for its intended purpose
  • arrange for a regular review of the working arrangements (at least annually)
  • ensure incident reporting procedures are understood and followed
  • ensure that the employee receives any necessary information and/or training that they may need to carry out their work in a safe and secure manner

Employee's responsibilities

9 The employee must:

  • follow all agreed safe working procedures
  • use any work equipment safely and according to any instructions and training received.
  • cease using any equipment that it is suspected is faulty straight away and let their manager know.
  • tell their manager immediately if they have any health concerns they suspect may be
  • linked to the work they do or could prevent them from working safely
  • report any work-related accidents, dangerous occurrences or incidents of abuse,
  • aggression and violence to their manager straight away
  • make sure confidential or sensitive information is stored securely and not seen inappropriately by others
  • inform their manager about any changes that mean the arrangements may need to be reviewed.
  • follow the normal sickness notification procedures if they are sick on a day planned to work from home.

Working hours and interruptions

10. Home working, like going into the office, should take place during agreed times. These might be outside your normal working hours of work.

11. To avoid potential conflicts or misunderstandings, an employee and their manager must ensure they agree the working hours and patterns and that these are appropriately communicated to colleagues.

12 In addition, an employee must ensure that their Outlook calendar and Office Communicator are open and kept up to date with their working arrangements, together with a telephone contact point when not in the office. The 'out of office' notification is not to be used for this purpose. Where an employee fails to put in place the appropriate contact arrangements this may result in the home/remote working facility being withdrawn.

13. Whilst working at home employees must remember to take the breaks they are entitled to.

14. When working from home, employees are expected to sign in and out as they would when in the office via an electronic system (to be established as necessary).

Data protection and security

15. Managers and employees should be aware that in agreeing any arrangements to work at home or otherwise away from the usual working environment both continue to have a responsibility to observe security and confidentiality practices in relation to equipment and/or sensitive data in line with the Data Protection Act and council policy in particular the remote working guidance.

16 Please be aware that employees working from home cannot print to any printer they have at home. They will only be able to print to networked printers at the council.

17 Additionally employees working from home must agree with their managers and sign out any sensitive/personal paper-based documents they need to take with them using the appropriate form. The employee must ensure the documents are transported and stored securely at all times, and not left unattended in a vehicle. Any breaches of data security may result in action being taken under the council's disciplinary procedure.

Insurance

18. Employees working from home are covered for personal accident insurance. Public employer's liability still operates provided the employee is working within his/her duties.

19 Employees need to check with their insurance on home and contents to ensure that it is not invalidated through working at home.

20. Policies to be read in conjunction with this protocol:

  • health and safety policy
  • lone working procedure
  • risk assessments
  • new user acceptable usage guidelines
  • data protection protocol
  • DSE guidance
  • information security - acceptable usage
  • working time regulations

Print version: Flexible working Home remote working protocol [PDF | 179KB]

Flexible working home remote working checklist [PDF | 143KB]

Display screen equipment self asessment form [Word | 42KB]: the protocol requires that you complete a DSE assessment form