Working from home

Working from home is becoming more popular in Australia. Many employers now allow staff to work from home, depending on the nature of the work.

Allowing staff to work from home can involve your employee working away from the main work site on a part-time or full-time basis. This arrangement may be temporary or permanent. You may want your employee to complete a ‘qualifying period’ at the workplace before he or she starts working from home. 

Benefits of working from home

Working from home can allow your employee to work at the times of the day when he or she performs better. It allows your employee to work around family, personal and medical commitments. There may also be fewer interruptions at home. Working from home may assist your employee with managing his or her disability.

Safety issues

Working from home is an extension of the workplace. Your organisation could be responsible for any injuries that may occur while your employee works from home. If you are considering allowing an employee to work from home, you need to consider basic safety issues. These include:

  • ensuring that there is enough light in the work area
  • having adequate ventilation
  • working in an area that is not too noisy.

You may want to conduct a work health and safety check before your employee begins working from home. 

Working from home agreements

You and your employee need to carefully plan the agreement for working from home. It’s a good idea to have this agreement in writing. It means you can be sure about the conditions of work, the responsibilities of your organisation and the responsibilities of your employee. 

Your agreement could include:

  • who will purchase and install any equipment, such as a computer, printer or office furniture
  • who will pay for work-related expenses such as electricity, phone or internet connection
  • if or when your employee will be required to attend the work site
  • how and when your employee must ‘check in’ to the workplace, e.g. by phone, video conferencing, email or instant messaging
  • how your employee will get involved in regular team meetings or discussions with his or her supervisor
  • how your employee will get involved in staff training and development programs
  • how your employee will deal with clients if this is part of his or her job
  • how work health and safety and workers’ compensation factors will be assessed
  • your employee’s pay and leave entitlements
  • how and when the arrangement will be reviewed
  • how and when the arrangement can be ended.

Addressing these issues will help ensure that your agreement for working from home benefits your organisation and your employee with disability.

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