In the last 12 months, flexibility in business has become all the more important, with many employees now working remotely. Even before COVID-19, many individuals were seeking more flexible working options, given technological advances and a desire for a greater work-life balance.
As a business owner, you’ve likely noticed this progression and; thus, may have already started looking into ways you can integrate improved remote working capabilities in the long-term. However, while such practice can be incredibly beneficial, understanding the risks that can be inherent of flexible working conditions is also imperative.
This means being aware of and prepared to manage the potential challenges of different work arrangements, doing your best to ensure:
- Employees are both physically and emotionally healthy;
- Staff members who work from who are in a role where it’s appropriate and feasible for them to do so;
- You understand how various flexible work options may impact your existing insurance cover.
Why Employers Opt For Flexible Working Arrangements
First and foremost, in Australia, unless an employer has reasonable grounds to deny their request, there are certain people who have the right to seek out flexible work options.
To satisfy the requirements; under fair work arrangements, an employee must have been working with the same company for 12 months, while also satisfying any of the following:
- They are a carer;
- They are 55 or older;
- They have a disability;
- They are a parent or are responsible for the care of a child of a certain age range;
- They are a victim of or caring for an immediate family member who is a victim of domestic or family violence.
However, even if your business isn’t legally obligated to allow certain employees to work flexibly, you may still benefit from introducing such initiatives. While, at first, this may feel counter-intuitive, in that you’re essentially giving staff members the freedom to work unsupervised, this approach can achieve exceptional results for not only the employee but also the employer. Generally speaking, staff who work from home are more productive and, beyond this, the flexibility of their role can help boost morale, making them less likely to quit.
Through offering your employees the option to work flexibly, you can actively demonstrate your confidence in them and their capabilities. This, in conjunction with your receptiveness to their ever-changing needs, can help you establish strong professional relationships built on trust and, with more satisfied staff members, comes greater loyalty.
While there are some scenarios that may make flexible working difficult for certain employees, there may be the option to strike a happy medium. For instance, if a staff member’s role relies heavily on teamwork and; thus, will be made unnecessarily difficult if they’re not in the office, working from home on a full-time basis simply won’t be feasible. However, in catering to your employee’s needs; without introducing an approach that isn’t viable for your business in the long-term, you could consider giving them the option to work from home one or more days a week instead.
If any of your employees work remotely, there are numerous insurance considerations you will need to take into account, including:
- Injury to an employee: even if employees are working on your premises, your business is still responsible for providing them with a safe work environment. Thus, you need to ensure that staff members are covered under your workers’ compensation insurance if they sustain a physical or psychological injury while working from home.
- Injury to a customer: if your employees who work from home come in contact with customers, it’s important to make sure your public liability insurance accounts for this and that; thus, you have the appropriate level of cover.
- Safety of property and equipment
For more information, or if this article has brought up any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 03 9809 1532.
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