Hybrid Working FAQs
Is an employer under an obligation to conduct a risk assessment where an employee will temporarily be working from home?
Yes, an employer must assess the health and safety risks to an employee who is working from home, even where this is on a temporary basis. However, it may not be necessary for a manager or health and safety officer to attend the employee’s home to carry out the assessment in person.
Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3242) requires employers to conduct a “suitable and sufficient assessment” of the health and safety risks to which their employees are exposed while at work. Depending on the nature of the work, if an employee is working at home on a temporary or infrequent basis only, it is likely to be “suitable and sufficient” for the employee to carry out the assessment themselves. The employer should provide guidance on the potential risks that the employee should look for and instruction on how to carry out the assessment. It should ensure that appropriate steps are taken if any risk is identified.
What do you need to think about before switching your organisation to hybrid working?
It is important that you do your homework before committing to the hybrid working model. That preparatory work should include the follow steps:
Assess whether hybrid working is actually suitable for your organisation in the long term – from both a practical and business point of view.
Get your workforce’s view on hybrid working, for example via a staff survey.
Consult employee and trade union representatives about any potential move to hybrid working.
Get buy-in from senior management – this could include involve setting out the evidence of the pros and cons of the switch to your senior leaders.
Once you have completed these steps you can decide whether to proceed with the switch to hybrid working and, importantly, how far to take it.
The key takeaway here is don’t rush in, take the time to carefully consider the pros and cons of hybrid working and what is required to implement and embed it successfully in your organisation before making a decision about whether to adopt it.
Is there a standard hybrid working model?
There is no standard one-size fits all hybrid working model. What is going to work best for your organisation will depend on the nature of your business and your needs as an employer. There are a few potential variations to hybrid working to consider. For example, you need to consider whether you are going to require employees to attend a specific workplace on a set number of days per week, or whether your business allows you to be more flexible and adopt a “work wherever is best for you to do your job” model.
There is also the issue of whether you are going to require everyone to move to hybrid working or whether it will simply be an option for employees who want to work this way with workspaces available for those who need them. In addition, you may decide that hybrid working is suitable only for particular roles within your organisation.
What sort of issues should be discussed at individual employee meetings?
Employers should make it clear to the employee what their new working arrangement will be and that it will require a formal variation to their employment contract. Make it clear which days the employee will be expected to attend work and which days they can work remotely.
You should also cover any potential limits to flexibility. Make sure that you reiterate when the employee’s attendance at work will be required and any other restrictions such as limits on working in public places if there are data protection concerns, and limits on working remotely from outside the UK, which can have immigration, data protection and tax implications for both you as the employer and the employee.
If an employee agrees to move to hybrid working how does the organisation record that?
Follow up your individual meeting with the employee with a letter setting out the new arrangement, asking them to confirm that they agree to the proposed variation to their contract. Ideally you should also attach a copy of their amended contract highlighting the place of work clause within the contract that has been changed.
For further information on Hybrid or Home Working get in touch