Working From Home Policy

PURPOSE

[insert name of company] (“the Company”) is committed to helping its employees balance their work and personal commitments.

Integral to the success of working from home is ensuring the responsibilities that are in place in the office are carried through to the work environment in the home. These include work health and safety practices and procedures, IT, and performance expectations.

SCOPE OF POLICY

Working from home is a voluntary arrangement that can only occur by formal agreement between the Company and the employee.

All employees are eligible to request for working from home arrangements, but the employee acknowledges that this option may not necessarily always be appropriate or possible in all the circumstances. Alternatively, the Company may offer this option to the employee if they form a view that it will assist both parties.

THE POLICY

Application of the policy

This policy applies to all employees using their home to perform their work as part of their employment terms and conditions with the Company.

Employees working from home will not change their employment status, job responsibilities or performance standards and will be expected to continue to comply with their contractual obligations and to abide by the Company’s policies.

Obtaining approval

Working from home is neither an entitlement nor a contractual right, and can only occur by formal agreement between the Company and the employee. Employees are required to speak to their direct manager regarding their working from home request, and their manager may require that the employee put their request in writing.

The approval to work from home is managed on a case by case basis and each decision to provide this flexibility will be made on its own merits.

When considering a request to work from home, the Company will not only consider all of the criteria outlined in the [see Workplace Flexibility Policy and/or relevant Modern Award] but will also consider the following:

  • the nature of the work being compatible with it being undertaken away from the office;
  • the impact on the organisation and team outcomes and needs;
  • provision of service requirements;
  • productivity and efficiency;
  • individual needs and circumstances;
  • the availability of any equipment required at home, such as laptops and modems; and
  • the employee’s availability for meetings and/or client contact.

If there are costs associated with sourcing and supplying necessary work equipment and furniture for the home, these can be negotiated between the Company and the employee, and will be handled on a case by case basis. In the event that work equipment or furniture is supplied by the Company, these will continue to remain the property of the Company and must be returned upon the employee’s departure from the Company and/or when the working from home arrangements cease.

Work Health and Safety

The Company owes a duty of care in relation the work health and safety of its employees working from home.

All work health and safety policies which apply at the employee’s usual place of work, will as far as practicable, apply to the employee when they carry out their work from home.

Employees working from home must:

  • Take all necessary steps to eliminate or minimise hazards and risks to the employee’s safety;
  • Take all reasonable steps to safeguard their own health and safety and that of other others in their home;
  • Familiarise themselves with and comply with the Company’s health and safety rules;
  • Cooperate with the Company if the Company requests action to be taken in order to comply with the relevant work health and safety Acts and standards;
  • Report any hazard or accident or work related injury/illness arising out of the home based work to their manager when it occurs; and
  • Ensure the workstation at home is confined to a specific and appropriate area which allows their tasks to be performed and carried out in a safe environment free of hazards and risks to their safety.

The employee, upon the Company’s request, and subject to reasonable notice being provided to the employee, will allow the Company or a person nominated by the Company to have access to their working from home location to review equipment, safety and suitability of working location. This inspection can only take place within designated working hours. The Company will inspect the home based work site with an appropriately qualified person to ensure it complies with the Company’s statutory obligations to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the employee. The Company may also require a duly appointed WorkCover inspector or a representative of the Company to enter the employee’s home premises in the event of a dispute arising in relation to an issue of health, safety or welfare of the employee for the sole purpose of resolving the dispute.

The employee also agrees to cooperate with the employer in all measures to ensure that the home based work site conforms with the acceptable work health and safety standards.

In the event that the employee suffers or sustains an injury, all appropriate action must be taken to address and rehabilitate the injured employee.

The employee acknowledges that the Company is not responsible for any liability on the part of a third party who is not an employee of the Company.

Performance expectations

It is expected that all employees working from home will deliver a consistent and high level of performance.

The employee, must ensure that when working from home that they must be contactable on the phone during business hours, and available (if necessary) to be dialled into meetings and be reading communications sent by their colleagues and manager. Further, the employee can from time to time be expected within reason to attend work for important meetings and functions.

If the employee’s manager has reason to believe that the employee’s performance is being significantly compromised by working from home, the approval to work from home can be revoked.

IT

The employee must adhere to all of the Company’s IT policies.

Internet access must be available from home before working from home arrangements can be agreed to.

Confidentiality

The employee is expected to maintain their obligations of confidentiality while working from home. The employee must also protect intellectual property, confidentiality of client and Company files at all times, both in travelling between work and home, and at home as well.

RISK ASSESSMENT

When considering the type of work that can be done from home and the physical conditions of the location, the employee must consider the following aspects:

Physical activity

Repetitive movement is not continued to long periods of time without taking a break.

Breaks must involve stretching and changing of posture.

Posture is comfortable, following the ergonomics principles.

Any lifting, pushing or carrying type tasks must be performed within the physical capabilities of the employee.

Trolleys or other appropriate instruments are used for heavy and awkward items.

Work environment

Level of illumination and location of lighting fixtures are suited to the task being performed by the employee.

Location, height and other physical characteristics of furniture and computer are suited to the task.

Trip hazards are identified and removed and the work station is segregated from hazards in the home such as hot cooking surfaces.

Emergency process

Path to the exit is reasonably direct and wide enough and free of hazards and obstructions to allow for an unimpeded passageway to the exit.

Electrical

Power outlets are not to be overloaded and circuit break protection is in place.

TERMINATING OR VARYING ARRANGEMENT

The Company or the employee can terminate or vary the terms of the arrangement after discussion, and by giving each party appropriate notice.

Free Working From Home Policy Template

Download this free Working From Home Policy template for Australian businesses to highlight to employees your working from home policy and what is expected of them.

By downloading this template, you agree to use it at your own risk and under your own legal advice. Nothing on this site should be considered legal advice.