Can I have a business energy contract if I work from home?
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Homeworking and flexitime can bring huge benefits, both to staff and bosses. But SME employers must be aware of the hidden risks.
Homeworking is becoming a more and more popular choice for UK businesses. Analysis by TUC (Trades Union Congress) has shown there are now more than 4 million people regularly working from home, an increase of over 800,000 since 2005.
Advantages for the employee include:
Happier and more productive staff has obvious benefits. Add to that the savings businesses can make on bills and office space, and homeworking starts to look like a very attractive option.
However, in this relatively new area there are several risks to consider, which all-too-frequently go ignored.
UK law dictates that employers have a duty of care for all their employees, regardless of location. This means the same health and safety requirements that apply in the office must be enforced in the worker’s home.
Before the homeworking begins, employers must complete a risk assessment to ensure that the working space is healthy and safe. This should include aspects such as:
Although the employer is responsible for carrying out the risk assessment, it should be noted that the duty to rectify the flaws and ensure they don’t recur falls on the employee. A homeworking training programme will help keep your staff safe and is advisable for any SME considering homeworking or flexitime options.
It’s very important to note that any equipment supplied by the business is the responsibility of the employer. Imagine a homeworker was provided with a laptop whose cables had exposed wires. If the employee was electrocuted as a result, the company could find itself being sued for negligence.
Another growing consideration is that of data protection. With cyber crime on the rise in SMEs, this is a real issue when it comes to having your workers dispersed geographically. An office is a relatively secure space. But can you say the same of your employees’ homes? As an employer, you need to ask yourself:
Again, an employee should be made aware of cyber risks via a homeworking training programme. You may also want to draw up a contract forbidding use of work equipment by anyone but the worker.
Last but not least, employees need to be aware of changes that homeworking might incur to their existing insurance package. Most home insurance policies don’t cover premises being used for business purposes – and failure to address this may result in them being left unprotected. This can be highlighted as part of your training programme.
Due to the dynamic nature of SMEs, homeworking is an excellent choice for many employees – and their managers. But it also carries hidden risks. Businesses should protect themselves by:
"Very easy. Bea Luseni very efficient & knowledgeable."This review was posted by Alan Duffy on the 31st of March 2017
Super helpful and easy to work with
"Recommend this company in a heartbeat - Nicole Borneuf was super easy to talk to, was not pushy in the slightest, very helpful and replied with all my questions very professionally and did all she could to help. I had to deal with a few companies to sort my business energy out, all but Nicole were too pushy for my liking and I refused to follow through with them. Thank Nicole - you are a credit to your company, thank you for making the stressful energy change so easy."This review was posted by Mia Drew on the 29th of March 2017
An Extremely Competent Company
"Switch my business has not only helped my SME secure a good energy deal for the second year running but Jessica swiftly found a alternative supplier for me when I was let down on the day of switching by the new contractual provider I had chosen some 4 months previously. Being suddenly out of contract and without provider is everyone's energy nightmare. Greatest thanks."This review was posted by S McMillan on the 29th of March 2017
Helpful, friendly and we saved lots of money!
"Jessica Purnell was helpful and friendly, she made the whole process easy and simple AND we saved lots of money thanks Jess"This review was posted by Melanie Baker on the 23rd of March 2017
Quick & Easy
"Kabibi was very helpful and the whole process was very efficient. The one small reservation I had was that I was phoned up by Kabibi almost immediately having received my online quote - which wasn't enough time for me to finish reading the quotes! Fortunately she was able to assist me in a greater savings on both Gas & Electricity, and so as long as the switchover is seamless I will remain very happy with the service."This review was posted by Amanda Brown on the 21st of March 2017