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Human Resources: Homeworking during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Update as of 19 March 2020 

We recommend parish clergy / PCCs etc read through this advice regarding managing their staff over the coming few months in light of the Coronavirus situation.

PCC’s need to decide if staff can work from home (e.g. more likely for an Administrator than a verger).

If staff can work from home, then you need to consider the job description (as some tasks specified may now not be required such as producing service sheets etc).  Ask if there is other work that could be carried out during this period e.g. sorting out the electronic filing, checking files re GDPR, working through the inboxes and checking what emails need and should be kept from a GDPR perspective.

If staff are unable to fulfil their role e.g. due to the stopping of services including weddings etc (this could affect vergers, organists etc) then the parish will need to decide how long it can afford to pay these individuals or whether there are any temporary alternative duties that can be agreed with them.  If the parish needs to consider other options then please contact the HR helpdesk on HRhelpdesk@nulllondon.anglican.org .

Working from Home Guidance

Consider issuing your workers with some homeworking guidance.  You may like to consider the following information.

What is homeworking?

At times it may be sensible for colleagues to work remotely more often than usually agreed.  This may include when they have received medical instruction to self-isolate but are not themselves unwell or being given instruction to remain at home due to an office or area closure or government imposed ‘lock-down’.  There can be many benefits to this type of arrangement for both individuals and the organisation.  It is important to encourage the individual to think how they might structure their time and continue to build good relationships within their teams.

Is the role suitable for homeworking?

To ensure they can continue productive work from home, their line manager should discuss with them the type of work they could do from home.  You will also need to agree how the work will be supervised and how you will communicate effectively with each other.

Computer access / desktop setup

<< to be considered by your parish>>

Internet service, access to the parish IT System and telephones

<< the parish will need to consider how your IT systems can be accessed for homeworking>>

You will need to decide how to manage calls to the parish office e.g. changing the message, can the parish office number be transferred to the mobile of a member of staff?

Ensure that when using any home telephones or personal mobiles, your staff are advised to make use of the privacy function, blocking the details of your number to callers. Let your staff members know if  the parish is prepared to pick up any reasonable additional telephone costs through your normal expenses process.  Ask them to discuss this with their line manager in the first instance.

Office space and health and safety

Your staff members will need to decide where they will physically work.  They will need to ensure that they have a place that they can use as your workspace – a kitchen table or a desk in the corner of the bedroom would suffice.   For their own convenience and wellbeing, please get them to check their working space with the DSE workstation checklist to ensure it is safe from a Health and Safety perspective.  This will need filling in and returning to your parish.

Insurance

It would be good to check with your parish insurers – whilst it is the case that when working from home they should continue to be covered through your parish’s employers liability insurance, it would be advisable to ask them to notify their household insurer, lessor or landlord, depending on who is responsible for insuring the building, that they may be working from home.

Anyone else at home?

We would recommend that individuals communicate expectations with anyone who will be home with them. They might be working at home but still have company.  This is to ensure partners, roommates, siblings, children, parents respect their space during working hours as appropriate.

Keeping parish data safe

They will need to ensure that they use the same rules for storing and transmitting information at home as they do in the office. This means that all documentation needs to be held securely so that risk of any potential breach of confidentiality is reduced to a minimum (given the strict requirements under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) around personal data security).

Wherever possible, electronic data should be saved to their normal folders. If they do save any documents to their home IT equipment, ensure that these are deleted as soon as possible.

Individuals may need to consider this if they have children in the home (i.e. by securely locking documents) and instruct their family members that they are not allowed access to your work laptop (in order to protect the data).

Working time and communication

Generally, individuals would be expected to work their contracted hours.  Their line manager should agree with they if they are required to work a specific time pattern each day – making sure that they create a workday for themselves to help their productivity and achieve their objectives and deliverables.  It is important to agree set times to contact each other to ‘touch base’ and for updates, feedback etc.  This could be through email, telephone, Facetime or other agreed options.

Realistic expectations and well-being

Discuss the need to take a break from their work outside of agreed working hours (as they would if they worked from the office).  If it is past their scheduled work time, leave it until tomorrow.

Mark the end of their working day

As well as having a defined space to separate work from home life, encourage individuals to have a set end time to their working day.  This could be a specific time that they finish working or a key activity or marker that ends the day for them such as taking the dog for a walk or cooking dinner.

And finally, just a reminder that:

If they need to work from home, please ensure that they complete and send the DSE workstation checklist  back to the parish.

If individuals are required to take time off work for a Coronavirus related reason or because they are otherwise unwell, ensure that they notify their line manager.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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