Working from home policy template – a guide for small businesses

Woman with laptop looking at papers working from home

Businesses that have a working from home policy might find it easier to recruit people, as more and more employees expect flexible working to be available.

But working from home needs to be managed carefully, so it’s important to have a proper working from home policy in place.

Here’s how to create a working from home policy template that you can use to set expectations with your team.

What is a working from home policy?

A working from home policy is a document that outlines what homeworking means at your business, as well as how employees can ask to work from home. It will outline some of the working from home rules that are specific to your business.

You can offer homeworking as part of a flexible or hybrid policy, whereby employees are still expected to come into the office on certain days of the week.

Or, you might even be comfortable letting your employees work from home full-time.

A working from home policy details your approach to homeworking, including:

  • definitions – for example, what are the differences between occasional, part-time, and full-time homeworking?
  • when employees can work from home – what work can employees do from home, and how can they request to do so?
  • obligations and responsibilities when working from home – including around security and equipment
  • how to apply to work from home – what processes do employees need to follow?

Your working from home policy should also detail when employees can expect a reply to their request and whether there’s a trial period.

Your homeworking policy and treating employees fairly

According to Acas, you shouldn’t treat employees differently if some work from home while others are on your premises. Even if they’re not physically present, they’re still your employees, so you should continue giving them access to the same support and opportunities.

For example, an employee shouldn’t be left out of an important meeting just because they’re working at home. Tools like Zoom and Google Meet can help make sure that everybody is included.

Plus, when dealing with homeworking requests you should make sure you don’t discriminate against anybody that has a ‘protected characteristic’ (for example, age or disability).

The example that Acas gives is if you grant a homeworking request to a male employee that has children, but then deny a similar request from a female employee on the basis that her children could distract her.

How working from home can work for your business

It’s always best to be open and encourage discussion among employees, helping them find working patterns that suit them and their teams best.

Some employees might have responsibilities at home you’re not aware of, while others will always prefer working from your premises. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, which is why talking is so important.

For your part, it will help to be clear about the tasks that can’t be performed anywhere other than your premises, and how often you expect your employees to meet together as a team.

As mentioned above, you can also think about the tools and equipment that will make homeworking easier. Whether it’s Zoom, Trello, or Slack, there’s lots of software available that will keep employees working from home updated and engaged.

Read more: the best free tools for remote working

Small business guides

Have you got a working from home policy in your business? Let us know in the comments.

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Sam Bromley

Sam has more than 10 years of experience in writing for financial services. He specialises in illuminating complicated topics, from IR35 to ISAs, and identifying emerging trends that audiences want to know about. Sam spent five years at Simply Business, where he was Senior Copywriter.

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