The year 2020 saw many changes for businesses and one major change was around the area of remote working. Many employers have had to manage their employees remotely and the year 2021 will see an even bigger emphasis on this area, with the government investing time in public consultations and the development of the National Remote Work Strategy. The main objective will be to ensure remote working is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace after the pandemic.
It is vital that employers are mindful that their obligations also extend to any employees who they now have working from home.
Some employers may face difficulties around the area of performance management when an employee is remote working and many are unsure of how to combat this. At Boyd HR, we hold daily morning Zoom meetings where we review what we have achieved/what was difficult from the previous day and what our plan is for the coming day. This ensures everyone is focused and held accountable for what they need to be doing. Many employees are also finding remote working isolating, therefore, holding daily meetings affords employers the opportunity to check in on an employee’s mental wellbeing.
Some other key actions we have taken in relation to remote working are:
- Provided employees with a Remote Working Policy.
- Completed an Ergonomic Risk Assessment.
- Ensured employees are taking and recording their daily rest breaks.
- Provided employees with all the relevant equipment they needed to complete their job.
One main action point currently included within the National Strategy is the development of legislation for the right of an employee to request remote working. With this in mind, it is imperative that if an employee makes a request to work remotely that the employer gives this serious consideration and has clear reasons as to why this is not an option. Otherwise, they could face a potential claim, which was evident in a following recent WRC Case; An employer was ordered to pay compensation to an employee who had no option but to resign from her job during the first Covid-19 lockdown, after her plea to be allowed work from home was turned down. The WRC found in the woman’s favour and ordered she be paid €3,712 compensation for her unfair dismissal on May 12th, 2020.
Some of the other main action points contained within the National Remote Work Strategy are:
- Reviewing the treatment of remote working for the purposes of tax and expenditure in the next Budget.
- Developing a code of practice for the right to disconnect.
- Doing what we can to accelerate the provision of high-speed broadband to all parts of Ireland.
- Mapping and investing in a network of remote working hubs across Ireland.
- Mandating that home and remote work should be the norm for 20% of public sector employment.
If the implementation of the National Remote Working Strategy could possibly benefit you and or have an impact on your business during the coming year, please feel free to contact Boyd HR for advice and guidance on 074 912 3150.
Created by: Nicola Gallagher, Account Manager, Boyd HR