Working From Home

by Barbara Buffton

Introduction

Home-working is defined in this topic as office-type work carried out by employees working from or at home for one or more employers. It can be permanent or temporary, full-time or part-time work, carried out on a regular basis or on a one-off occasion. It may already happen informally in some companies.

The seemingly never-ending advance of technology means that it is now easier than ever for employees to work from home and away from the office. The increased popularity of laptops and wireless connections means that home workers can even choose where to work within the home rather than having to work from one fixed point.

Fast and reliable broadband connections mean that access to email and the Internet is now (usually!) easy and quick. The cost of computer equipment and telecommunications continues to fall, making it more viable for employers to finance home-working.

New legal framework

The Employment Act 2002 came into force on 6 April 2003 and introduced a package of so-called family-friendly working rights. This means that some employees now have a statutory right to request a variation to their terms and conditions of employment in respect of (among other things) working from home.

So why doesn’t every employer have a policy for home-working? For a checklist for putting one together, see What needs to be in place.

This topic explains:

  • The pros and cons of home-working for both employers and employees.
  • What kind of personality suits home-working.
  • The basics of the legal framework.
  • Good practice to follow – or how to make it work!
Commuting time

The RAC estimates that daily round trips to and from work in London are as high as three to 15 hours a week, or nearly two days’ work.