There's a misconception that working from home = lazy days spent in PJs curating memes. In fact, your remote team is likely far more motivated, content and productive now that they're not battling traffic and making small talk by the fishtank.

Managing your obligations as an employer is key to capitalising on this newfound productivity. Yes, it's a brand new workplace - but you have the same old obligations (plus a few new ones, too).

  • Home office. Your obligations as an employer with respect to the workplace continue to apply to your employee's home office. That includes workplace health and safety obligations and ensuring your staff have the right equipment to do the job. You may want to create an employee self-assessment checklist that ensures your employees have a suitable workstation. That includes; a comfortable and adjustable chair, a desk at a comfortable height with adequate leg space, an external keyboard, monitor and mouse (if using a laptop), adequate lighting with no glare on the screen, a suitable exit path free from trip hazards and smoke alarms are installed and working in case of fire.
  • Remember risks to the team's emotional wellbeing are also your responsibility, ensure there are regular catch-ups planned, don't let your team feel isolated, encourage the team to get out and move around and to ensure they put barriers in place so they separate work-life from home-life.
  • Employment contracts. Time to review them! Now that you your policies and procedures in place (including the etiquette for conference calls), what do your employment contracts say about your workplace policies and procedures? Do they form part of the contract? What does your employment contract say about lending company property to staff so they can work remotely? Get clear on your current contracts and how they might need to adapt.
  • HR. Develop a HR manual with policies and procedures that can be accessed remotely. Define clear expectations around working from home. We all know life can get in the way, so make sure expectations are clear and realistic.

Assets. Keep a register of assets, giving each item a unique number and label. Have a register of who has taken what and ask staff to sign items back in when they are returned to the office. This way you won't lose track of who has what.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.