The Government encourages working at home for both reasons of care and reducing the carbon cost of commuting. And most people like working at home and are more productive. This idea would remove a significant barrier to its adoption, particularly for small businesses.
I help organisations adopt teleworking – that is, have employees who work at home.
Amazingly, an employer has the same responsibilities for ensuring the health and safety of home workers as they do for staff based at their premises.
This means employers have to organise assessments of the home workers' home office, covering H&S risk, electrical safety, ergonomics, lighting etc.
What I see is a bureaucratic mess as managers sign off home workers' self-assessments without knowing what they are endorsing, whilst worrying what their own liabilities are. And both home workers and managers worry about carrying out sometimes-obligatory physical inspections of the home office.
For large businesses this red tape creates loads of paperwork and consumes much time and effort. For small businesses it can be a step too far which stops them adopting teleworking.
It is crazy and anomalous that an employer has responsibility for a home office. Apart from employer-provided equipment, the responsibility is clearly the home worker's themselves, just as it is for the rest of their home. I propose that that part of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 should be cut.