How Realistic Is It For Companies To Enable Workers To Work From Home To Meet Their Requirements On Flexible Working Regulations?

June 1st, 2010

The number of controls which affect the employment sector is vast and ever-increasing. There seems to have been a continuous stream of new laws, guidelines and directives which cover wages, working hours, discrimination and diversity, to list just a few. This has generated not only a great burden of administration on businesses but also the threat that they may not be aware of one or more of the changes and find themselves being taken to court or an industrial tribunal. The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) announced in a recent report, “The relentless flow of complex employment law is stifling UK competitiveness and risks future job creation”. The BCC has worked out that the Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002 has cost British businesses over 1.5bn pounds since its introduction. When one also considers the identical scenario which is occurring as a result of new financial directives and the increasingly complex nature of the UK’s tax system it is apparent that managers of businesses have to be very watchful to guarantee that they are operating within the rules.

One of the issues within the Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002 relates to having employees Work From Home. This would allow|would permit|would enable[/spin] employers to hang on to skilled employees who may otherwise be forced finish work if their domestic circumstances change. It can also enable businesses to benefit from good quality employees who may not otherwise be interested without the attraction of flexible working. It should be pointed out at this point that the vital aspect to consider when offering employees the option to Work From Home is the suitability of their job role. When one is aware that only 3% of theUK’s workforce currently Work From Home on a permanent basis it puts the concept into a better perspective. Furthermore, this figure has not changed since 2002 despite the birth of the modern Internet Business where most of the employees would describe their positions as Online Jobs due to their use of the latest communication technology. A further 18 per cent of employees work at home on an occasional basis but one in three of these do so less than once a month so it can be seen that it is done on an ad hoc rather than a organised basis.

If relevant job roles are available and there are employees who need to Work From Home then the practicalities must be deliberated. The purpose of this exercise must be not to lose the quality of work that would be produced from an office base. Therefore, the tools needed to carry out the work must be installed at home. This may include some or all of the basic office equipment such as a desk, chair, filing cabinet, computer, printer, fax and stationery. Communication technology will allow the employees to maintain contact with management, clients and colleagues and this will be vital to the success or otherwise of permitting the worker to Work From Home. An internet connection will be essential, preferably broadband if hi-tech features such as video-conferencing are to be installed. For more low-tech communication a dedicated telephone line or mobile phone will be sufficient. As the amount of equipment expands it becomes apparent that another important factor in the process is the availability of sufficient space in the worker’s home to allow them to create an office.

To sum up, the issues involved in having employees Work From Home can make this part of the flexible working concept very hard to implement unless you happen to be an Internet Business built around Online Jobs. How keen a company is to undertake it, especially with the prospect of increased costs, could well depend on the value to the business of the employee who needs to work from home.

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