If you have employees in your teams categorised as Hybrid Workers, you will know that their base will be home and they will spend some of their time at home. If you have employees who are categorised as Agile Worker – Site Based, they may occasionally work from home.
Therefore it is important that employees homes continue to be appropriately set up for them to work and that employees follow some key home working guidance which is noted below. If employees have any concerns about working from home they should discuss this with their line manager in the first instance
There are some key elements relating to home working that still remain as important as ever in the future workplace model and managers should continue to ensure home working arrangements are set up and safe.
The working environment for an employee requiring to work from home will need to be assessed by the employee at the earliest opportunity and if not suitable, alternative arrangements for the employee to work from an office location should be sought.
The following package shall be provided and maintained by North Lanarkshire Council.
- a. Provision of laptop PC and software.
- b. Provision of “key fob” facility for access to Council systems.
- c. Access to network printer as necessary (within the service base)
- d. Mobile phone where necessary.
A chair, monitor and ancillary equipment (for example foot rest, wrist support, riser etc.) will be provided by the Council as required and in line with the appropriate Health and Safety assessments.
A record of what equipment an employee has at home should be kept on myTeam, and updated by the line manager as required.
The use of technology underpins any home working arrangement. It needs to be fit for purpose, accessible, reliable and useful. It should include all elements that the employee needs to do their work from home and this should be provided with appropriate guides or training to support engagement.
Equipping employees to work at home through online learning, good IT support and timely updates is essential for the successful implementation of the scheme.
Only Council approved devices and software should be used for work related activities.
Employees should be provided with the appropriate packages to allow them to conduct meetings from home if required, i.e. Microsoft teams or Skype. These meetings should be conducted confidentially and away from other household members.
Relevant ICT policies and guidance should be referred to as appropriate. Please see further guidance here.
4. Working Hours
An employees working hours at home should largely mirror those normally undertaken in the office, unless otherwise agreed by the line manager. These working hours can vary to accommodate work life balance arrangements, if agreed with the line manager and in line with the Smarter Working policy.
Employees should ensure, where possible, to limit interruptions during their working day, unless previously agreed with their line manager. Under no circumstances should they undertake any other responsibility e.g. childcare, during the hours they have agreed to work.
Employees working in a hybrid and agile way can experience a blurring of lines between work and personal time and line managers should monitor and regularly review working times to ensure they remain in line with employee contracts and the Working Time Regulations.
5. Heath and Safety
A Homeworking Self Assessment should be undertaken for each home workspace at the beginning of the home working arrangement and reviewed periodically thereafter. The self assessment form can be found here and should be completed by the employee and returned to their line manager.
The employee should undertake the relevant online learning to ensure they are clear on the need for good DSE and workstation layout and posture.
It is the Council’s responsibility to ensure all employees are aware of requirements in relation to the safe installation and use of equipment within the home working environment and any necessary training will be provided.
All staff should be made aware of the incident reporting system and procedures and report any work-related incidents. See here for more information.
6. Wellbeing of employees
Employee wellbeing is crucial at all times and particular elements should be considered for those working from home:
- Employees should be encouraged to take regular breaks and exercise and to structure their working day.
- Managers/employees should be encouraged to create intentional space for celebrations and social connection. Creating virtual spaces and rituals for celebrations and socialising can strengthen relationships and lay foundations for collaboration and encouraging good team dynamics.
- Loneliness and isolation can be factors when employees spend a lot of time working from home. Line managers should maintain regular contact with their teams both individually and in a group and look out for signs that their mental health may be deteriorating. Managers should react quickly to concerns and ensure that employees feel listened to and are pointed to relevant support mechanisms.
- Managers should consider how to build the resilience of employees working from home; this may be through virtual coaching or mentoring, online learning and encouraging teams to discuss their experiences about how to be most productive and effective at home.
- Further guidance for managers and employees on maintaining good health, safety and wellbeing can be found here.
- Managers should seek advice from the Employee Relations team if they are concerned about an employee’s mental health.
7. Insurance and Mortgages
Employees will be responsible for seeking confirmation from domestic insurance companies that their domestic insurance policies have been noted, or adjusted, if necessary. It is not anticipated that there will be an additional cost to home insurance for working from home.
Working at home may have implications for an employee’s mortgage or lease arrangement. Consequently, employees are obliged to advise their mortgage provider or landlord that they are working at home.
8. Security of Information
The employee will be responsible for the security of all Council information, files, documents, etc. in their possession and for ensuring there is no unauthorised access to such information. All information held should be treated in confidence, should not be inappropriately disclosed, and should be in accordance with the Council’s Acceptable Use of ICT Policy, the Council’s Policy on Data Protection and the Council’s Policy on Information Security. Advice is available from the employee’s line manager and on myNL.
Employees should be reminded of their need to complete the statutory online learning courses on Data Protection Essentials and Information Security Awareness.
Employees must ensure that they do not share sensitive or personal information under any circumstances outside of the secure Council systems. Use of WhatsApp, Zoom or other similar messaging tools or personal email should not be used.
It is not recommended that employees retain paper records at home and should consider scanning materials to save digitally. Retention arrangements for these records should also be considered.
Where employees require to discuss confidential matters, they should ensure their environment allows for this and/or they have appropriate equipment such as headsets to reduce the risk of conversations being overheard. Where these measures are not in place, employees should discuss this with their manager at the earliest opportunity.