- Day to Day HR
- Five top tips to manage your employees’ office equipment in a hybrid working environment
The Covid-19 pandemic stopped employees all over the country from coming into work, and subsequently sparked a culture shift for the UK’s workforce towards working from home. As we emerge from the pandemic, the option of combining the two in hybrid working is becoming ever more popular and may now be here for the long run. If you’re still exploring a move to hybrid working, you might find some helpful tips in our other hybrid blogs, which you can find by searching on the hybrid working filter.
While it brings newfound flexibility for employees, and can save employers thousands on rent, it also brings with it new challenges that you may not have had to think about previously. One of these challenges is how to manage home workers’ office equipment.
There are various factors to consider here, and it may be more complicated than you first think. However, with these five top tips for managing home workers’ office equipment, it is nothing to be phased by.
1. Have clear sections on equipment in your hybrid working policy
This will be a great way to avoid any confusion and for treating all staff consistently, which should make it easier to avoid them feeling disgruntled or mistreated.
You can have clear guidelines on whether employees will be using company laptops, for example, or whether you will allow them to use their own computers with appropriate security safeguards in place.
You can also deal with whether staff will need to bring their IT equipment back in with them each time they come into the office, which can sometimes create security risks if it gets lost or stolen on the commute to or from work, and some employees may struggle with this if they walk or cycle. Are you able to offer additional computers at the office which will be available for them to use?
A hybrid working policy will sit alongside any policy on remote working that you already have. Using a software system like ours will allow you to make both these policies easily accessible to staff. You can also add them to a required reading list, to prompt your employees to read them, and then confirm that they’ve read them as well.
2. Stay safe – and comfy!
There is no legal obligation to provide staff with the equipment necessary for the home working part of hybrid working, although you do have a legal obligation to ensure that you provide a safe working environment. This means that you will have to think about chair, desk and monitor heights both in the workplace and at home, as these are key to both health & safety as well as comfort.
Faulty equipment can be dangerous and halt productivity, so we recommend that you get all electrical equipment (both in office and for remote working) PAT tested. There is no legal obligation to do this, but it might help to give you and your staff peace of mind.
It’s also a good idea to get any equipment you give to employees to take home inspected regularly. And discuss with them where they’re going to work at home, so that you can assess whether they’ll have things like enough light.
3. Enable file access anywhere using the cloud
Cloud-based software also promotes hybrid-working, as staff can use it wherever they are. Lots of companies have found that old server-based software designed for everyone in one office is slow and painful to use remotely – cloud-based software prevents you from having to experience that pain!
It has never been easier to use cloud-based systems, with cloud storage applications such as Box, Dropbox, SharePoint, Google Drive and iCloud all helping to securely store info for work.
And cloud-based HR software, like citrus HR, can let all your team know who is working where, and when, as well as helping them to get to know their team-mates no matter where they are.
4. Don’t forget about UK GDPR
You have a legal obligation to check that anyone working from home can do so in a way which keeps personal data and confidential information safe and secure. You’ll therefore want to remind staff that their data privacy obligations in the office apply equally at home, which might mean in practical terms, making sure that any home PC (or laptop) that is used for work has up to date and strong anti-malware software on it, for example.
There are some additional security steps you may want to investigate in order to prevent data breaches, such as requiring employees to access company systems from home using VPNs or multi-factor authentication.
5. Get insured
It is a good idea to get any equipment provided by you to the employee to be covered by your insurance policy, or if that isn’t possible, then you can require the employees to take out and maintain satisfactory insurance cover. If this involves additional costs (over and above that of a standard home insurance policy), it would be usual practice to reimburse the costs involved. You can always contact your own insurance broker for advice if you’re not sure.
In our blog series on hybrid working, you can read about Making a hybrid model that works and The financial implications of hybrid working, which might help you design and decide on the right hybrid solution for your small business.
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