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How to make a Working from home policy

Create a working from home policy for your employees to give clear guidance on how employees can request to work from home and the guidelines they should follow when working from home.

Recently reviewed by Lauren Delin, Solicitor. 

This working from home policy was last reviewed on 8 December 2020.

Use this working from home policy:

  • if your business has employees

  • when your employees can request to work from home on a regular or ad-hoc basis

  • when you want to set out guidance for employees in relation to working from home

This working from home policy covers:

  • regular and ad-hoc working from home
  • how working from home can be requested
  • the employee's hours of work
  • equipment and materials 
  • expenses
  • security
  • health and safety
  • insurance
  • termination

A working from home policy is a policy that sets out the employer's approach to home working. It is an agreement between the employer and the employee that defines who is eligible to work from home, the process for requesting to work from home, as well as the approval process.

Regular working from home generally follows a set pattern, for example where employees work from home regularly on certain days.

Ad-hoc working from home is working from home where there is no set pattern and the days worked from home are irregular. This is typically used where working from home is necessary to oversee repair works or accept a delivery.

Employees that are working from home can either work their regular hours or can work flexible hours (eg to cater for other responsibilities they may have, such as childcare). Where employees work flexible hours, you should specify any core hours they should be working and be available for.

Putting in place a working from home policy ensures your employees are informed on their rights to work from home (either on a regular or ad-hoc basis). It helps them understand the process of making working from home requests and how such requests will be handled. Having a working from home policy also shows that your business considers your employees’ specific and personal needs and that it is committed to offering staff a good work-life balance.

Employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as any other workers. This applies regardless of whether employees are working from home on a temporary or long-term basis. 

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all its employees, including employees who work from home. For more information, read Employer health and safety responsibilities for staff working from home and Employer first aid obligations for employees working from home. You should also consider making a Health and safety policy if you do not already have one.

Employers should be aware of their specific obligations, most notably:

  • Encouraging employees to liaise with their line managers to ensure their workstations are appropriate and that employees are working in a safe manner. 
  • Reminding employees to take responsibility for their own health and safety and that of anyone else in the home who is affected by their work. 
  • Requiring employees to notify their line managers if they feel any discomfort due to working from home (such as back pain), or if they feel that there are any work-related health and safety hazards. Line managers should then be instructed to escalate any matters to Human Resources to look into what action can be taken to resolve such issues. 
  • Informing employees of the steps they can take to achieve a comfortable posture while working from home on DSE. 
  • Providing guidelines about safe working practices to help prevent accidents and injuries, including musculoskeletal injuries. 
  • Reminding employees to follow the usual reporting procedures, such as any work-related accidents that occur in their homes or reporting sickness.

It may not be possible to provide everyone with the ideal equipment for working from home, although employers should provide equipment where this is needed for employees with a disability. You should take each request on a case-by-case basis.

Employees that are working from home should be aware that this may affect their home and contents insurance. They should check with their home and contents insurance provider to ensure that the appropriate insurance cover is in place.

Where the type of home work carried out by the employee requires visitors to their house for purposes related to the business, you may consider asking them to take out public liability insurance. Public liability insurance covers the cost of compensating members of the public for death, injury or damage to their property that happens because of you or your employees’ negligence. While not compulsory, public liability cover protects the employee from loss or damage resulting from claims made by anyone who visits their home in connection with the business. For more information, read Business insurance.

Ask a lawyer for advice if:

  • the document doesn't meet your needs or cover what you want

  • employees don't agree with the working from home policy

This working from home policy is governed by the laws of England, Wales and Scotland.

Other names for Working from home policy

Homeworking policy, Home working policy, Remote working policy, Homework policy, WFH policy.