What you need to know when employees are working from home!

The pandemic caused many businesses to switch to a working-from-home model, but as life slowly goes back to how it was before, businesses and employees are wondering: is it better to work from home or in the office? How about a hybrid model?

Every business is different. In fact, every job is different. There is no “one size fits all” solution. 

If you have, or are thinking of having, employees work from home you should have a Working from Home policy.
The purpose of this policy is to establish clear ground rules, procedures and protocols to ensure that working from home is carried out safely and in compliance with OHS laws and other applicable regulations and standards. CFIB members can access a Working from Home Policy template in the Member Portal

Employee qualities that are appropriate for working from home

In making decisions about which employees are designated or approved for working from home, managers will review the work qualities of employees, in addition to ensuring that their positions are appropriate for working from home. Generally, employees who are successful in working from home:

  • Can work productively on their own
  • Are self-motivated and flexible
  • Are knowledgeable about the job
  • Are dependable and trustworthy
  • Have a really good performance record
  • Are well organized
  • Have good communication skills

OHS in the workplace and the home office

Whether an employee works on the business premises or in their home office, they are still subject to occupational health and safety rules. 

You and your employees need to consider the layout of their workspace (ergonomics and home), and you should have an emergency plan for employees who work alone. 

Employees working from home must report any accidents or injuries sustained during work hours in their home workspace to their employer. We recommend you put a procedure in place for investigating such incidents.

Many of the workers’ compensation commissions/boards do not provide much guidance when it comes to working from home. Therefore, having a policy outlining the roles and responsibilities will help show you have done your due diligence when it comes to keeping those employees working from home safe. 

Here are 7 ways you can keep your team productive while they are working from home or in the field:

  • Equip your team with tech and productivity tools
  • Establish daily check-ins
  • Encourage dedicated workspaces
  • Provide emotional and steady support
  • Dress for success
  • Don't forget about non-work interactions and team building
  • Implement a Disconnecting from Work policy

Benefits of working from home:
For the employer:

  • Helps with retention
  • Can increase productivity
  • Minimises loss of time due to commuting issues (traffic jams, accidents, buses running late, etc.)
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Attracts candidates when hiring
  • Helps maintain a continuity plan in an emergency
  • Can help save money: smaller office space, reduced maintenance and cleaning costs

For the employee:

  • Better work/life balance
  • There is no commute
  • Saving money
  • Positive environmental impact
  • A customizable office
  • Your day is often less stressful
  • There is greater flexibility
  • You can reduce distractions

Are you working from home and feeling lonely? Here are 7 tips to avoid loneliness:

  1. Connect with like-minded people online
  2. Create lunchtime conversations from your home office
  3. Talk about more than just work with co-workers
  4. Call your mom
  5. Don't forgot to move around; check out our Wellness Hub for easy exercises
  6. Take those breaks; grab a coffee, take a 5-minute walk, get some fresh air
  7. Make after work plans

Remember: Working from home is tax deductible. Check out the government website for expenses allowable and what forms are needed

CFIB Members can access the Working from Home Policy template in the Member Portal. Not a CFIB member yet? Join now and gain access to our library of resources, one-on-one consultations with our Business Advisors, exclusive savings and more!