According to various studies, teleworking is expanding. Quite clearly the technology is now available to make this an attractive option for employers. It can also have advantages for employees including a more flexible working life enabling people to combine work with other responsibilities which they could not do at the traditional workplace.
But there are disadvantages too including the feeling of isolation from the employer and from fellow employees. The guidelines below aim to address the problems teleworkers might face and to ensure that they are treated in the same way as other employees.
- Teleworkers should be employees of an enterprise and not deemed self-employed.
- To avoid isolation, contracts of employment should require home workers to periodically attend the office.
- There should be a separate room available at home for teleworking, a separate telephone and payment for additional costs such as heating and lighting.
- There should be regular meetings between teleworkers and the provision of electronic mail and telephone links with other teleworkers, all to be provided at the employer’s expense.
- There should be regular weekly liaison discussions between a teleworker and his or her supervisor / manager.
- Teleworkers should enjoy the same rates of pay and employment benefits as office based workers including child care provision and family leave. There should be a defined number of working hours. They should be included in career development and appraisal schemes including training opportunities.
- All computer equipment should be provided, paid for and serviced by the employer who will be responsible for installation, maintenance, ins urance and compliance with health and safety requirements. The employer should also accept legal responsibility for any accident or injury.
- Teleworkers should have access to trade union representation and be able to attend meetings within working hours. Health and safety advisors and trade union representatives should be able to visit teleworkers.
- Teleworking should be voluntary with a right to return to working from the office.
Author: Peter Skyte (MSF Information Technology Professionals Association), Source: eto.org.uk