Remote Working Checklist for EmployersPosted in : Templates and Checklists ROI on 20 January 2021
In December 2019, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment published a report on the prevalence and types of remote working solutions in Ireland, the attitudes towards them and influencing factors for employees and employers when engaging with these solutions.
The report found that there is a need for national guidance for employers and employees seeking to engage with remote working solutions. In July 2020, the Department held a Public Consultation on Remote Work Guidance for employers and employees. In response to the results of the consultation, the Department set up a 'Guidance for Working Remotely' page which will act as a live resource for employers and employees adopting remote working practices. This resource page will be updated as new guidance is developed to support workers and business, both in response to COVID-19 and in the longer-term.
In January 2021, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD, published Ireland’s first ‘Making Remote Work – National Remote Working Strategy’ which outlines the vision for the future of remote working in Ireland.
As remote working arrangements have numerous impact areas and vary for businesses, it can be time-consuming to get to grips with all the relevant considerations to be undertaken. To provide employers with a quick way to navigate the adoption of remote working arrangements, the Department has produced a Checklist for Working Remotely.
(Or paste the link below into your browser: https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/Publications/Publication-files/Remote-Working-Checklist-for-Employers.pdf)
The resources below will help you in showing compliance with this checklist:
Health and Safety
Are your employees aware of their health and safety obligations whilst working remotely? The responsibility for Health and Safety at work rests with the employer regardless of whether an employee works remotely. It is good practice to ensure employees know how to protect themselves from injury and ill health during this time and understand their health and safety obligations whilst working remotely.
The HSA has published guidance on working from home which includes advice such as: the key responsibilities for the employee and employer, work-related stress, equipment provision, maintaining communication, good practice in setting up a workspace and risk assessment.
Legal Island has created a 'Protecting Yourself when Home Working' eLearning course to provide all employees in your organisation with an overview on how to protect their physical and mental health whilst working remotely.
Returning to work during COVID-19
As businesses and workers continue to navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic, a lack of clarity may emerge in whether to continue working/operating remotely or to return to the office. In deciding on a return to office working, employers have a duty of care to their workers in ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. The HSA has produced guidance on this topic on their COVID-19 templates, checklists and posters webpage.
One of the steps outlined in the recent Government publication, the 'Work Safely Protocol' is that employers must provide COVID-19 induction training for all employees before they return to the workplace.
Legal Island has created an eLearning course in partnership with Ronan Daly Jermyn that complies with HSA guidance and enables employers to provide compulsory COVID-19 induction training to all employees in advance of them returning safely to the workplace.
Mental Health and wellbeing
There are numerous benefits that can stem from remote working which will help improve work/life balance, child and family wellbeing and also reduce the amount of time spent commuting for workers across Ireland, however, working from home or remotely is also linked with negative effects on mental health and wellbeing, with workers experiencing feelings of isolation, loneliness and stress. Employees also experience difficulty switching off and keeping regular working hours.
Legal Island has created an 'Employee Wellbeing eLearning Toolkit' for all staff. This toolkit is designed to enable all-staff training for organisations in 7 key mental health and wellbeing areas.
Course topic areas to choose from include:
- Mental Health & Wellbeing
- Coping with Fatigue
- Managing Stress
- Building Resilience
Data Protection and Cyber Security
According to the Data Protection Commission where a staff member/contractor is allowed to access an employer’s network from a remote location, such access creates a potential weakness in the system. For this reason, the need for such access should be properly assessed and security measures reassessed before remote access is granted.
With the adoption of remote working across Ireland, the number of people working at home or remotely has dramatically increased. Data breaches are often accidental and the result of staff carelessness. The fear and panic surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have produced a perfect ‘high stress’ environment for cyber criminals. Making the move at short notice from your trusted office environment to homeworking can create security risks, making homeworkers susceptible to falling for scams such as phishing emails.
It is therefore vital that your employees understand the essential elements of protecting data when they work outside the office, how to protect your organisation from cyber attacks and understand their obligation under data protection legislation to protect the data they handle.
Legal Island has created a 30-minute 'Protecting Data when Home Working' eLearning course to protect you and your organisation.
In the 'Guidance for Working Remotely' live resource page, it notes that Employers should ensure that the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 are being adhered to regardless of whether their employees are working remotely or not. Employers should also be aware of the Equality Acts when adopting remote working or relevant training within their organisation. For instance, an employee working remotely must have equal access to career development, training and promotion opportunities as those working on-site.
Top employment lawyers advise it is essential to provide all staff with diversity and inclusion training.
Legal Island’s 'Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace eLearning course' is tailored specifically to Irish law and provides comprehensive compliance training for all employees ensuring they are aware of their roles and responsibilities in promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace for everyone. This course can be accessed anytime, anywhere from a mobile device, laptop, tablet, or desktop enabling employees to complete the training whilst working from home or remotely.
Training for Managers - Managing remote workers/teams
While continuing to navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, as organisations and employees consider transitioning office-based workers to a new remote working option permanently, it is necessary that managers are trained to optimise team performance. They also need to protect the wellbeing of each team member, whether they all work remotely, or some are based in the office and are part of a hybrid team.
Legal Island has created a 'Managing and Motivating Remote Workers' eLearning course in partnership with Think People Consulting that will provide managers of remote workers in Ireland with the tools to manage and motivate their team, optimise performance, and achieve organisational goals.
The 6 eLearning training courses above will assist you in showing compliance with the Departments 'Remote Working Checklist for Employers'.
Talk to a member of our eLearning team
If you wish to discuss any of these courses further, feel free to contact Debbie Wilson via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is correct at 20/01/2021
The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.