The demand for flexible and remote working options is on the rise. According to Vodafone's research on smart working, 77% of SME employees are in favour of remote, flexible or smart working practices but only 9% of SME owners are fully embracing it. In response to this gap, Vodafone and their partner Abodoo, collaborated with the SFA to give small businesses a variety of resources so that they can embrace smart working practices into their business which you can look at on our Grow, Scale, Succeed website.
There are many benefits to working remotely or availing of smart working from increased productivity, higher staff retention rates, reduction in absenteeism, increased access to the labour market as you can select new hires based on their skill set and not on their geographical location. There are the wider social benefits such as reduced carbon footprint as commuting is either reduced or removed and there is an increase in regional regeneration as more people are opting to work in co-working spaces around the country. Equally though businesses do need to look at the employment law and health and safety implications of setting up remote working or flexible working arrangements.
The SFA have produced a checklist for remote working that offers a series of questions for your business to consider on the following key areas:
- GDPR and data privacy obligations
- Health and safety both for home working and in a co-working space
- Equality considerations around the area of reasonable accommodation
- Work / life balance and your obligations under the Organisation of Working Time Act
If your business decides that remote working is a viable option, we have a number of checklist points that will help you consider your next steps in:
- Updating contracts of employment
- Updating the relevant policies and your safety statement
- Updating company handbooks
Whilst technology and security of data is a major concern for many small businesses, there are technological and infrastructural solutions that can support your business in the implementation of smart working which you can view here.
Once you are satisfied that smart working is viable for your business why not download our sample flexible working policy.
In the meantime if you have any specific concerns or questions please contact SFA Executive, Helen Quinn on 01 605 1668 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the advice section of our website.