Employees working from home
Providing equipment for employees who work at home
As an employer you're likely to be responsible for providing, installing and maintaining all equipment unless the employee uses their own.
Equipment you need to provide may include:
- workstation, including suitable desk and chair
- filing cabinet, drawers and shelving
- PC with office software, anti-virus software, email and broadband internet connection
- dedicated business telephone line
- stationery and office supplies
Advances in technology can allow you to create virtual teams where employees work together despite working from home. A basic virtual team could be two employees talking over the phone, or you could use more sophisticated tools like high-speed internet, email or video conferencing.
IT equipment can be expensive, so make sure it is compatible with your existing systems and meets a genuine business need.
Read more on how technology can facilitate working from home.
Remember that you still have health and safety responsibilities for people who work at or from home. Read about your health and safety obligations towards home workers.
Insurance and rates
You'll probably need to extend your business insurance to cover equipment used by employees in their homes. The employee's home insurance policy is unlikely to cover this. They should check with their insurer to make sure they're covered for working at home.
It's also worth mentioning to potential home workers that if they use part of their home exclusively for work, they may have to pay business rates for that portion of their home. It's a good idea to get them to check the position with their local council. See how to use your home as a workplace.
You also need to ensure that employees take care of business equipment and information in their possession. Employers must ensure that data protection principles are adhered to eg establish procedures to be followed in terms of the storage and security of information and what to do if any item is damaged or lost.
This can be complicated and worth getting specific guidance from HM Revenue & Customs in respect of liabilities and set-offs. See expenses and benefits: homeworking.