Hybrid working

During the Pandemic we were told to ‘Stay Home, Protect Lives, Protect the NHS’. It was all such a whirlwind. With the emerging variant lock-down situations and subsequent complications, modified working methods continued and for many staff and employers became preferable. Hybrid working has become in many cases the ‘new normal’ and in most cases an accepted optional practice. The legalities of Hybrid working were not taken into consideration or fully understood by many employers. In this blog we’ll help you understand the situation in relation to your business.

What factors should you consider before adopting Hybrid Working for your employees?

Giving the team the option to work around their family, at home and with flexible hours can have significant benefits for the employer and staff, but takes some careful planning to achieve well. First and foremost, you must have a Hybrid Working Policy in place. You’ll need to review and adapt any related policies or procedures to match the new arrangements and of course, consult with your employees to achieve the best results for all.

We’ve put together a brief list of factors to consider below:-

  • Insurance
  • Contracts
  • Benefit In Kind
  • Supplied equipment
  • Cyber Security
  • Safe Working Measures
  • Performance Management

Should I be supplying suitable office equipment for hybrid working staff at home?

It’s not uncommon for employers to allow their team to take equipment home with them, laptops, screens, mouse, keyboard etc. Supplying them with a laptop ensures that all security is in place to reduce the possibility of Cybercrime. Employers are not obliged to supply Chairs, Desks etc, but there does need to be a risk assessment carried out and you’ll need to discuss the changes with your employees to ensure a successful transition. There’s some good advice and points worth considering on the HSE website to assist you. It’s a good idea to keep an inventory, signed by the team member, listing all of the items in their care.

Should I be paying for staff expenses arisen at home due to working from home?

Staff are entitled to claim Tax Relief for “Job Expenses”. This covers purchases for the Job in hand. There is a temporary “Working from home relief” that allows employees to claim £6 per week from 6th April 2020 and evidence is not needed for this. If they need to claim more, remind them to keep evidence such as bills, receipts, and contracts. This would be for household expenses such as gas, electricity, metered water and business phone calls. These extra claims must relate only to costs incurred due to hybrid working.

Your staff will get tax relief based on the rate at which they pay tax. For example, if they pay the 20% basic rate of tax and claim tax relief on £6 a week, they will get £1.20 per week in tax relief (20% of £6). Here is the link to see if they are eligible to claim https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/claim-tax-relief-expenses/only-claiming-working-from-home-tax-relief

Relief is applied to their Tax Code.

What about Cyber Security for hybrid working ?

It’s really important to ensure your team are trained and knowledgeable of what to be cautious of and who to contact in the event of a Cyber Security Breach. You should always use a reputable cyber security software and keep it up to date. For more information on current Cyber Security please refer to the National Cyber Security Centre https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/home-working

Is my insurance going to increase?

Our best advice is to contact your insurance provider for help and guidance. There are increased risks with employees working from home, how this will affect your insurance cost is individual and specific to your company.

Benefit In kind tax and hybrid working

Employees pay tax on company benefits such as cars, accommodation, loans, medical insurance. The full list can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/expenses-and-benefits-a-to-z. The amount of tax paid on BIK’s depends on the type and their value. Employees can check their income tax and how company benefits affect them here https://www.gov.uk/check-income-tax-current-year

Some company benefits are tax free but that is for another time.

Is hybrid working good for my business long term?

Hybrid working can certainly be beneficial for businesses. Overheads can be reduced dramatically, with reduced or even no commercial rent or utilities etc. Staff may be more productive having the opportunity to start work earlier in the day when they are most alert. Working parents may well appreciate the option to arrange their time dependent on childcare etc. In those cases both the employer and employee can achieve significant benefits financially and emotionally.

However you have chosen to work, we wish you every success and if you need any help give us a shout at SMART.