Right to Flexible and Remote Working – Popular Questions from our Recent Webinar

Our recent webinar on the new Code of Practice on Remote Working and Flexible Working drew a sizeable audience leading to lots of questions.

The new Code was introduced by the WRC and H&SA jointly in March and it didn’t take long for the first complaints relating to remote or hybrid working to have been received by the WRC. They were received by April.

Health and Safety and DSE Assessments

One of the sections in our webinar which attracted the most attention was that on DSE / VDU / Ergonomic Assessments for those working remotely. Even if Remote Working comes about solely at the request of the employee, the employer must conduct such assessments.

FW or RM Agreements

Another area which attracted many questions was what might be in a Flexible Working (FW) or Remote-Working (RM) Agreement?

Its important to read the Code of Practice to get a full understanding of requirements of the Code and to create a template FW or RM Agreement to match the requirements of the Code.

The Suitability of the Person can be Assessed

Not only can the role be assessed for suitability, but the person can be assessed for suitability. Thus, when considering an employees request for RM, there are really three types of suitability than can be assessed:

  1. Suitability of the role
  2. Suitability of the remote location (and a DSE assessment must be conducted)
  3. Suitability of the person.

There are a number of factors in the Code that would give an employer a structure upon which they could assess a person suitability.

Some examples given in the Code include:

  1. Does the employee have the necessary IT skills to complete their required job functions outside of the office? 
  2. Does the employee understand their role and require minimal supervision to complete their tasks?
  3. Has the employee met the performance standards and requirements of the role? 
  4. Is the employee subject to an extended probation period? ƒ Is the employee subject to an active performance improvement plan? 
  5. Is the employee involved in an ongoing disciplinary process or is there a live record of disciplinary action? 
  6. Is the employee subject to a training programme or apprenticeship which requires supervision? 
  7. Has the employee demonstrated an ability to meet deadlines or any other business requirements? 
  8. Does the employee understand the need to demonstrate flexibility when required to attend on-site outside of their agreed arrangement in order to meet business needs? 
  9. Does the employee understand that there may be a requirement to participate in team meetings/training/one-to-ones online while working remotely? 
  10. 10.Has the employee maintained a satisfactory attendance record and complied with the company’s attendance policy? 
  11. 11.Does the employee need to be on-site for learning, development or mentoring purposes? 
  12. 12.Does the employee need to be on-site to collaborate with colleagues in a team environment in a face-to-face setting?

This is a non-exhaustive list of examples and the employer may consider other factors.

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