Working through summer 2012
Five top tips on home working during the Olympics
This summer, the option of working from home will be used for thousands of Londoners who want to avoid the inevitable disruption that millions of extra people visiting the Capital to enjoy the Olympics will cause. But are the Capital's employers really prepared or even aware of all the implications of having employees working from home? Laurence Finger, Partner at SRLV accountants, explores the issue for us.
It might sound like a great idea to have thousands of Londoners working from home during the Olympics. It would lessen the burden on transport and infrastructure in the Capital. However, employers should be aware and prepared for the implications of having large numbers of employees working remotely when they aren't properly geared up for it.
We set out 5 top tips to help London's businesses during the Olympics:
1. Health & Safety - companies are required to undertake home visits and/or risk assessments if an employee is working from home. The employer needs to record the result of their assessment and ensure they have considered the health and safety of their employees, who will be working in a home environment. For example, does the employee have a suitable, clean and safe working area, sufficient light, electrical sockets, etc?
2. Insurance - make sure you have adequate insurance cover for employees working outside their usual working environment. This needs to cover all equipment, such as laptops, books and records taken home, as well as all data transferred to a home computer. The employee should check that the property and contents insurance on their own home is not, in any way, invalidated by them working from home.
3. Tax & Benefits - employees are able to claim the additional costs of working from home and these would include telephone calls, internet access and any additional light and heat that they incurred. These claims will need to be realistic and employers cannot simply pay a round sum allowance to an employee. Individuals can claim the travel costs from home to the premises of a client or supplier, if they go directly.
4. Technology - if employees don't have laptops they can use their home computers using remote systems to access emails or documents. However, companies should make sure they have adequate security measures to ensure confidential information is protected.
5. Productivity - if you have a high percentage of your staff working remotely for a number of weeks, a company might find that productivity or client service is adversely impacted. Working from home can provide many distractions - not least watching the Olympics on TV - so it's important that you keep staff motivated and set realistic goals so that they know what is expected of them.
SRLV: SRLV (www.srlv.co.uk) is a central London based accountancy and professional services firm specialising in developing, entrepreneurial businesses. Whilst known for their sector expertise in the fields of music and entertainment, hospitality, property, and media, they also cover a broad range of business sectors and specialist services. With nine partners and more than 80 employees, the firm provides a range of services including corporate finance, tax planning, business consulting, financial services, human resources and full audit and accountancy services.