Working from home

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees have been asked to work from home.  Employer should ensure that all employees understand what constitutes an appropriate, safe, and healthy home working environment in line with the latest public health and Health and Safety Executive guidelines.

The Scottish Government published updated home-working guidance on 23 July 2020, and all employers and employees are encouraged to be aware of its contents.  A summary of actions which employers, should take is listed below; full guidance is available here.

Employee wellbeing

  • Consider support mechanisms to promote positive mental health and wellbeing in the workforce, supporting employees who may be anxious for many reasons relating to the changes resulting from COVID-19.
  • Ensure that explicit consideration of wellbeing form part of regular support and supervision discussions
  • Ensure staff are taking regular breaks and continue to work their usual hours, in accordance with the working time directives
  • Consider individual circumstances of staff, and where appropriate offer additional flexible working options such as reduced hours, compressed hours and flexible start and finish times


Health and safety

  • Signpost staff to appropriate Health and Safety Advice
  • Support staff to complete a risk assessment of their home workspace
  • A risk assessment should be carried out on an employer’s homeworking policy as a who, with consideration given for workers with protected characteristics
  • Consider and action any reasonable adjustments that need to be put in place depending on individual staff members’ needs, paying due regard to equalities and protected characteristics
  • Consider and action any reasonable adjustments that need to be put in place depending on individual staff members’ needs, paying due regard to equalities and protected characteristics
  • Establish an emergency point of contact

Caring responsibilities

  • Consider and support the individual circumstances and needs of staff who have caring responsibilities while recognising women are more likely to be disproportionately affected by this
  • Discuss appropriate workload with those with caring responsibilities and ensure they feel supported
  • Consider making use of additional flexible working options such are reduced or flexible working hours

Communication and engagement

  • Employers and staff should work together to agree the method and frequency of communication
  • Employers should ensure the workforce is using fully accessible communication channels


  • Ensure staff have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, and that they will be subject to conduct, safeguarding and performance management procedures within the organisation
  • Ensure current work priorities and expectations are achievable given the current restraints
  • Employers should consider providing support and training for managers to help them successfully manage remote workers

Equipment and IT systems

  • Discuss with staff any digital issues they may need to be supported with to work from home, such as broadband connectivity, or any reasonable adjustments they may need
  • Discuss, agree, and provide staff with the relevant equipment necessary to carry out their regular duties, such as a laptop and work phone
  • Ensure the IT network has capacity to support the number of staff who will be working from home
  • Employers should consider ways to protect themselves and employees from cyber-attacks. Such things could include securing accounts, utilising VPN and cyber training.

Pay, expenses, and finances

  • Inform staff that while they are working from home, the usual contractual terms and conditions of their employment should apply, and pay will remain the same if they are working the same hours.
  • Consider your organisation’s policy on expenses incurred from working from home and signpost this to you staff
  • Ensure insurance covers the organisation for home workers if they are using business equipment
  • Inform staff that they should ensure that there are no issues with them working from home with their home insurer, mortgage provider, or landlord.
  • Employers should keep a record of the decisions they have made in reference to homeworking and track their impact.