Employers risk losing their team culture as home working employees become alienated from their organisation, according to a leading employment lawyer.
Alexandria Evans of Yorkshire law firm Lupton Fawcett said bosses must ensure regular communication, team activities and face to face meetings with home workers to avoid a loss of morale.
As millions continue to work effectively from home, benefitting from flexibility and convenience, experts warn it will be difficult for large numbers of staff to return to cities this autumn due to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, health risk concerns and transport capacity.
Alexandria said: “Home working offers a number of benefits to employers and staff. However, there is a risk that it can damage team working amongst employees, who could feel alienated from their organisation and colleagues. This can have a negative impact on motivation, productivity and mental health.
“Communication is key to maintaining motivation and morale. Managers should be in touch with employees ideally daily and team meetings should take place regularly.”
Alexandria recommends that employers give home workers regular feedback on their performance while arranging opportunities for engagement with colleagues including video calls, periodic face to face meetings, staff newsletters and team activities such as quizzes.
Employers are also being urged to check employment contracts, which might not cover home working, and ensure that employment policies keep pace with the risks of agile working.
Alexandria added: “When employees are using equipment supplied by the employer, or using a personal computer for work, it is important employers have sufficient protections in place, including IT policies, to mitigate the increased risk of data security breaches.
“Employers must remember their responsibility for employees’ welfare, health and safety whilst home working. They should undertake risk assessments to ensure employees have the appropriate workspace and equipment to safely carry out their work from home.”
Lupton Fawcett launched an HR Consultancy this year to provide employers with one-stop support to meet HR goals or tackle a crisis. The team brings together award-winning employment law solicitors and CIPD-qualified consultants who work together to tackle issues ranging from disciplinaries and grievances to restructuring and redundancies.