Homeworkers Working Longer Hours?

Recent surveys have reported that some employees who are working from home are putting in more hours than before the Covid-19 pandemic. There can be many reasons for this such as an increased workload, employees feeling pressure to be seen to be ‘present’ or a blurring of the lines between work and homelife. With this in mind, some employers will be considering what they can do to help support employees who are working from home to facilitate good performance and work-life balance.

If your organisation is one of those employers, steps you may wish to consider could include:

  • Ensuring that good communication is maintained between managers and employees. This will help managers to ensure workloads and working hours are appropriate and give employees the opportunity to seek advice or help with a work related matter at an early stage. Not only can this help to save time, but knowing support is there if it is needed will be welcomed by employees.
  • Reminding employees of the importance of taking a lunchbreak and encourage them to take it in full. Under the Working Time Regulations most adult workers are entitled to a minimum in-work rest break of 20 minutes if they are working for more than six hours a day but many employers give employees the right to a longer break in their contracts. It can be tempting for such employees to shorten their break if they are busy or otherwise feeling under pressure, to meet deadlines for example, but it can be counterproductive. A break can help employees to re-energise and better focus for the rest of the day.
  • Checking in with employees towards the end of the day to see how they are doing and if any help is needed to enable them to log off on time can help with work-life balance. It can be easy for employees to just carry on working if they are busy and don’t notice the time or if it has become a habit in the absence of the commute or opportunities for things such as social activities.
  • Help colleagues to stay connected – good workplace relationships can allow employees to support and energise each other and contribute to a positive working environment even whilst working from home. Depending on your organisation and employees roles, you may wish to consider steps such as allowing some time for colleagues to chat together before or after an online team meeting, permitting employees to have virtual tea breaks or lunches together over videoconferencing platforms or arranging the occasional fun group activity online.

If you would like information regarding the limits on working time and rest breaks for employees, or you have any other employment law matters you would like assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.