How do I prepare for employee requests to work from home?

How do I prepare for employee requests to work from home?

As more workplaces are presenting plans to move back into their offices, many employees are trying to find ways to remain at home. As employers are trying to simulate pre-COVID work life as much as they can, there have been employees wanting to push back. There are many ways COVID-19 has progressed work life for the better, and for some employees, this means continuing to work remotely.

It is within an employer’s rights to require that employees return to the office. Because employers are permitted to make this demand, it is likely like there will be a multitude of requests from employees asking whether they may continue to complete their work responsibilities at home. As an employer, how should you handle these requests?

It could be ideal to create a policy that addresses working from home. This policy could include who is eligible to remain a remote worker, the level of performance that is expected, the technology that is needed etc. This policy should reflect how you want your employees to execute their role and maintain all of their responsibilities (even if they are being accomplished in a slightly different manner). This could greatly reduce the number of requests submitted.

Address the gravity of the request. This means that you should assess whether the request is because of a necessary accommodation and if remote working conditions is the solution. Employers are required to accommodate to the point of undue hardship, meaning that if the request to work remotely is too demanding, then the employer should be prepared to decline.

If the request to work from home cannot be accepted, follow-up with alternate benefits the employee has available to them. For example, you may ask whether they want to book off certain time in advance or remind them of the vacation time they are still entitled to. Even if you can’t allow them to work from home full-time, make sure they know you still care.

Assess other options that would work for both you and your employee. For example, you may tolerate a hybrid schedule, one where the employee can work from home most days and have certain days where they must come into the office.

If you are an employer struggling with implementing new remote working policies, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.