Rounding out National Teleworking Week 2013, this final blog will raise some points that you need to flesh out when you are considering a ‘working from home’ arrangement and concentrates on the Review Process.

telecommuting

 

As with my other teleworking blogs over the last week or so (http://www.workpro.com.au/blog/the-teleworking-train-has-left-the-station/, http://www.workpro.com.au/blog/teleworking-putting-the-wheels-in-motion/) this blog provides you with guidance to develop your organisation’s teleworking procedures from a work health and safety perspective. Once you have made a decision about a working from home arrangement, the review process is critical, where you have less control over the environment and things can change quickly. Quite often, much effort and emphasis is placed on the worker’s performance and effectiveness, but their health and safety is just as important. A thorough review procedure should include:

  • An agreed date for a formal review of the working from home arrangement. The review will include any changes to the working hours, tasks, role, physical environment, equipment and communication. Ideally the review will include a checklist and agreement by both parties.
  • Ability to flag when a review must be completed.
  • The parties responsible for the review.
  • A process for the worker to easily advise of changes to the working from home arrangement, including work environment.  This advice will (ideally) trigger a physical review of the environment, and the opportunity to complete a risk assessment. The assessment should include taking photographs of the new environment and the completion and a checklist that both parties need to sign.

In summary, your ‘Employer Checklist’ when planning for and implementing a working from home arrangement for your staff will include:

  • The Person’s Role & Building a Policy – is it appropriate for the person to work from home, will the worker be secure, how will you communicate with them regularly, what equipment will they require, and the request procedure for the worker.
  • The Request – to be completed by the worker, it includes the reasons for working from home, start/end date for the arrangement, days to work from home, details of the tasks to be completed from home, hours to be worked, and agreement for a formal assessment.
  • Authorisation Process – to be completed prior to the worker commencing the new arrangement and will include an  audit/assessment of the working environment, including photos, agreed review date of arrangement, confirmation of equipment required, communication protocols, and reporting structure
  • Review – agreed date for review and the parties responsible, process to advise of changes to the arrangement by both parties, and the parties responsible for the review.

High on the agenda naturally is open, honest, regular communication with the worker, to help your staff member firmly remain part of the culture and not the ‘forgotten workforce’.  Ensure you take the time out to talk to them regularly to check on their mental health as well, not just to assess their work performance and workplace safety. WorkPro recently launched its e-book on working remotely, which includes elements around teleworking. It can be downloaded here bit.ly/12JtXXq. WorkPro will also be releasing an Employer Checklist, covering off on the elements outlined in these latest blogs, so be sure to subscribe to our blog or join our LinkedIn Member Group to be alerted when it’s available. Next on the agenda will be the development of a Working from Home Audit/Assessment Checklist.

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