There are many benefits of home-based work, but such arrangements may not always be appropriate for certain types of work, writes Mary Rafael.
Working from home has become increasingly desirable as more and more lawyers request flexible working arrangements to help balance work and family commitments. The likelihood of these requests has also increased following the adoption of National Employment Standards.
The National Employment Standards give working parents with children under school age, or under the age of 18 with a disability, the right to request flexible working arrangements. Home-based work arrangements, which are typically on a part-time or temporary basis, need to be consistent with business requirements and should not adversely affect other lawyers or staff (as far as possible). Planning, implementation and management considerations are crucial to effective home-based working arrangements.
Law firms should take steps to develop an appropriate policy to address the various considerations associated with a working from home arrangement, including eligibility criteria, particular conditions that may apply, OHS issues, insurance, security, performance, communication, and the home office location.
A working from home arrangement will not be suitable for all types of positions, for example, those requiring a high level of supervision, or those that supervise others.
Also, ensure the person has appropriate childcare arrangements in place, (where applicable), and make it clear that working from home is not a replacement for childcare (or other care).
Finally, ensure that the arrangement can be varied or terminated where appropriate.
Mary Rafael is a lawyer with Australian Business Lawyers