In light of the coronavirus outbreak COVID-19, emergency planning has become a major consideration. Work from home has never been so talked about until now as the world faces a war like situation in this public health emergency.

With the use of cloud technology, employees may be able to provide productivity even if they are not in the office. At the same time it improves the job satisfaction and build up operational resilience. Businesses must ensure their capabilities if they are considering allowing their employees to work from home wherever it is possible.

Statutory right for flexible working
Employees in England, Wales and Scotland have a legal right to request flexible working. This could involve working from home in the event of a requirement to self-isolate or working fewer hours if they have to care for sick relatives.

Employers must deal with their requests in a “reasonable manner”, which includes

• assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the application

• holding a meeting to discuss the request with the employee, and

• offering an appeals process.

Employees must have been working for you for at least 26 weeks to make an application.

Some of the questions which may arise when allowing work from home may include:

Does the employee role prohibit in any way to work from home?
One of the first steps for an employer is considering whether the job is suitable for homeworking.
Many roles may be, but others may not. Some other factors to consider include whether the role
needs:
• Team working
• Face-to-face supervision

Do you have access to cloud technology?
With the cloud technology, the data is stored in the cloud rather than on individual devices. This
makes information accessible from anywhere if you have an internet connection. It builds up much
flexibility for your employees to work when and where they need to.

Do you provide right devices to employees for work from home?
Organisations need to make sure that they do provide the right devices i.e. laptops, work phones
and adequate internet connectivity to their employees so they can work flexibly. In addition to this
they must have been given access to the necessary files/folders and drives to function seamlessly.

What is the attitude of your employees towards working from home?
While homeworking can be seen as an attractive option, it will not suit everyone. A homeworker
needs to be able to cope with working on their own with little supervision. Homeworkers ideally
need to be:
• Able to spend long periods on their own and be confident working without supervision
• Self-disciplined and self-motivated
• Able to separate work from home life