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Working From Home: A Guide for Employers

25/01/2021 If you are an employer with staff working from home, you may yourself be finding the whole situation quite a test. With this in mind, we have brought together a selection of useful guidance, practical tips and resources specifically aimed at employers and managers with responsibility for staff working from home.


One of the most sweeping changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has to be the new approach to working.

In April 2020, almost half of employed people carried out at least some of their work at home, with 86 per cent of those doing so as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Office for National Statistics.

For many, working from home during the first lockdown was a first time experience, and for some, it is still something they may be struggling to get used to.

The disruption, isolation and lack of a direct support network and motivation can all be a recipe for anxiety and stress. For those with children at home, the situation can be even more of a challenge, especially during times of lockdown when the increased pressure of home schooling comes into play.

If you are an employer with staff working from home, you may yourself be finding the whole situation quite a test. With the responsibility of ensuring your workforce remains motivated and supported, with their mental and physical well-being take care of as well as their practical work-related needs, it could be that your role has become all the more demanding.

With this in mind, we have brought together a selection of useful guidance, practical tips and resources specifically aimed at employers and managers with responsibility for staff working from home.

Practical tips for employers and managers with staff working from home

When working from home, aside from time management, one of the biggest strains on employees has to be the isolation. Keeping staff connected has therefore got to be one of your priorities. Here are some helpful tips to help maintain a supportive team environment.

Set up a support system

Instil a system of regular support-based communication. Staff need to know they can freely ask for advice just as they would when in the office. So, make it clear to everyone that they are welcome to contact their supervisors or colleagues as and when they need to.

Setting up a regular check-in for individual staff members at a pre-arranged time works well to help co-ordinate your own time. As a manager, it is important for you to be available, but equally you need to be able to undertake your own tasks as well as supervise others. Bear in mind that if you are stressed, then you will be no help to others. Your own mental well-being is as important as anyone else's.

Arrange regular team meetings

For teams, it's important to maintain that sense of togetherness, even though everyone is physically working apart.

Diarise a regular team meeting using a virtual tool such as Zoom or Teams. This really is your only opportunity to get everyone together face to face, so make the most of it.

Put together an agenda just as you would an office-based meeting, so there is structure to the event.

To boost engagement and make everyone feel more involved and relaxed, you could invite guest speakers, perhaps providing a motivational spot, or even something non-work related, such as a quick lunch prep demonstration, or a 5-minute desk workout. Anything that helps staff feel better in themselves and ready to face the rest of the day or week alone at their home-based desk is a good idea.

Demonstrate understanding

Not feeling understood can be very demotivating. It really is so important for you as a manager of staff working from home to demonstrate empathy at all times.

Feelings of anxiety and overwhelm are common amongst homeworkers, especially during lockdowns where there appears to be no end in sight.

As well as making yourself available for work-related advice, be sure to let staff know that you are also there to talk through anything else that is on their minds, and that you are on hand to discuss their personal concerns and fears.

The impact of isolation and loneliness can be considerable, and it is vital that you can show your workers that you understand this. Even if you don't need to check in with your team for work-related matters, be sure to make yourself available just to see how they are doing generally.

Loneliness can lead to depression and other mental health issues, so always be on the lookout for any changes in behaviour or personality. It could be a sign that an individual is struggling to cope.

Maintain and encourage training programmes

Many businesses have training programmes in place to support staff development, and it is important to keep these running wherever possible so that motivation levels are maintained.

There are plenty of ways to provide training virtually, so there is no reason why staff development should go on hold just because of lockdown. Without it, workers may feel devalued and lose their sense of worth.

Providing training and new opportunities can also be a good way to divert an otherwise worried mind to something more constructive.

Openly share help resources and provide professional support

Working from home resources are plentiful, so be sure to share whatever you deem helpful to your staff.

Signposting to sources of professional support is also important in situations where you feel that a higher, more qualified level of assistance is required than you can provide yourself.

There may be support available via your organisation's healthcare plan, or you can direct individuals to other relevant healthcare sources.

It is good practice to publish a regular staff newsletter. This will not only help with engagement, motivation and inclusion, but will also provide you with a platform through which you can provide links to helpful resources and reinforce your commitment to staff welfare.

A work from home staff survey will also help you better understand how your workers are doing, as well as showing them that you value their input and genuinely care about their well-being.

Encourage staff to set up a Wellness Action Plan

A good way to empower staff to take control of their own well-being is to encourage them to set up a Wellness Action Plan (WAP).

The WAP is a useful tool that can help workers identify what keeps them well, and what impacts their mental health. It is a personalised, practical tool that staff can either keep to themselves, or share with a manager or someone else they trust.

Where colleagues share WAPs with each other, it can promote openness and understanding, and help everyone provide each other with support.

Useful resources for employers and managers of home workers

The following resources should prove useful and supportive as you navigate your way around the challenges of managing staff who are working from home:

Acas guide to working from home

Home working health and safety

HSE guide to protecting home workers

CIPD remote working top tips

Coronavirus and work tips from Mind staff

Managing the well-being of remote workers - a podcast from CIPD

Assistance with all aspects of workplace health and safety

For advice on all aspects of workplace health and safety, including guidance on managing the health and safety of home working staff, you are welcome to get in touch with PMR Solutions. Our advice is fully tailored to individual needs and backed by extensive industry knowledge and long term experience.

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