Verity Hill, our Head of HR and Organisational Development, writes;
As you can appreciate, the extraordinary impact that Covid 19 has had on all of us has meant that we have had to look at ways in which we can keep all of us safe whilst still continuing to deliver the excellent level of service to our patients.
As a result, we have embraced and, where appropriate, are supportive of the principle of working from home. We do not have an insight as to how long this period will last for, but it is evident that we will need to continue with this policy for a longer period of time. Therefore, we have now developed a temporary homeworking policy to facilitate this.
I would like to stress that working from home is not an automatic right. It is a decision that is taken on trust and an understanding that those who are fortunate enough to be able to do this, are mindful that they must be able to work from home as effectively as if they were working in the office. For example, individuals must always be contactable by phone; always fully engage in meetings via TEAMS and also understand that should a meeting require them to attend any Cornwall Hospice Care premises, then this must be respected.
In the unlikely event that individuals are unable to work from home effectively, then Cornwall Hospice Care reserves the right to review and rescind this agreement.
If you have any questions regarding this policy, please do not hesitate to contact your line manager or a member of the HR team.
The Temporary Homeworking Policy is below.
TEMPORARY HOMEWORKING DURING CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY POLICY
This Homeworking Policy applies only during the present Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency and supersedes any other homeworking policy. It applies to those who have to work from home during this crisis either because of Government guidance or because Cornwall Hospice Care has decided to ask employees to work from home to prevent the spread of infection and safeguard the health and safety of its staff.
This policy is temporary and only applies during the period of the coronavirus crisis. It sets out the main considerations that Cornwall Hospice Care and its employees should consider during this temporary period of homeworking.
Temporary Homeworking Policy
As this is a temporary policy, and only applies during the present coronavirus emergency, it does not, and will not, set any precedents for applications for homeworking under any other policy.
Cornwall Hospice Care’s existing policy on homeworking, which is temporarily suspended, will only apply to staff requests to work from home once the present emergency comes to an end.
Terms and Conditions
An employee’s current terms and conditions, as set out in their contract of employment with Cornwall Hospice Care, will continue to apply during the coronavirus crisis. Any consequent arrangement for the employee to work at home, as a result of this temporary policy, will be at the discretion of Cornwall Hospice Care.
The IT Department will ensure that homeworkers have the necessary equipment and access to the necessary sites, including Cornwall Hospice Care’s intranet.
Personal equipment that an employee uses for work purposes at home remains their responsibility and Cornwall Hospice Care is not liable for any loss, damage, repair, or replacement of any such equipment.
If an item of equipment is deemed necessary for work, the employee should contact their line manager in the first instance.
All equipment used by the homeworker must be safe and fit for purpose. The employee is required to complete a home working risk assessment and may also be asked to complete a display screen equipment (DSE) assessment.
Keeping in Touch
During this temporary arrangement, the employee’s main place of work will be their home, however, there may be a requirement to attend site-based meetings. During home working, it is vitally important that the employee remains in close contact with their line manager and work colleagues.
The line manager will agree upon a work schedule with the employee on a daily and weekly basis. It will be up to the employee to manage their time to ensure that the work is completed promptly and satisfactorily. Persistent failure to meet deadlines may result in disciplinary action.
Colleagues may also need to contact a homeworking employee for work updates. The homeworking employee must, therefore, be available at agreed times.
The employee should ensure that they check the intranet regularly for any organisational news.
Any problems should be communicated to the line manager immediately.
Costs of Homeworking
The costs of electricity, water, heating, telephone, broadband, and other utilities will not be covered by Cornwall Hospice Care. These costs will remain the employee’s responsibility.
Employees must always keep Cornwall Hospice Care’s data and all other material objects safe and secure. All reasonable precautions must be taken to maintain confidentiality following Cornwall Hospice Care’s Data Protection policy.
Other Practical Considerations
Keeping domestic and working life separate is not always easy when working from home and an employee needs to think about how they will manage those who live with them to prevent interruptions whilst they are working. They must also ensure that no one else can gain access to their computer or work files. Breach of security will be treated as gross misconduct and may lead to dismissal.
All employees who work from home must ensure that they have a suitable working environment. It is the employee’s responsibility to make the necessary care arrangements for dependents who may be at home during their working hours.
Please note: homeworking is not a substitute for childcare or care of other dependents. Homeworkers with dependents must ensure that they can fulfill the requirements of their post whilst working from home by making adequate provision for the care of their dependents during working hours.
If the employee owns their house with a mortgage, they should check with their lender that there are no issues regarding homeworking. They should also check with their insurer that any equipment used for such purposes will be covered by their household insurance. If it is not, then they must inform Cornwall Hospice Care so that proper arrangements can be made.
If the event that an employee does not inform Cornwall Hospice Care, then should theft occur, the employee may be held personally liable for replacing any stolen or damaged equipment belonging to Cornwall Hospice Care.
End of the Temporary Arrangements
As has been emphasised throughout this policy, these arrangements for employees working from home are temporary to cover the present Coronavirus emergency. All such arrangements remain at the sole discretion of Cornwall Hospice Care.
Cornwall Hospice Care will keep employees updated concerning when the risk of infection has deemed to have passed and, therefore, when this temporary homeworking arrangement will be terminated and when employees will be expected to return to their normal place of work.