Hybrid working

What is it and how does it affect you as an employer?

There are many factors to consider if you are planning to adopt Hybrid Working for your employees.

First and foremost, you must have a Hybrid Working Policy in place, review and adapt any related policies or procedures and consult with your employees.

During the Pandemic we were told to Stay Home, Protect Lives, Protect the NHS. It was all such a whirlwind; the legalities were not taken into consideration by most employers:

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

So many other concerns were pushed to the forefront and rightly so.

But moving forward, many companies have now adopted Hybrid Working for the long term. Giving the team the option to work around their family, at home, flexible hours. With that, many questions have arisen:

Q’s

  1. Should I be supplying suitable office equipment for home workers?
  2. Should I be paying for staff expenses arisen at home due to working from home?
  3. What about Cyber Security?
  4. Is my insurance going to increase?

To name but a few.

A’s

  1. It is 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. It is a good idea to keep an inventory, signed by the team member, listing all of the items in their care.
  2. 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 would like to claim more, they will need to keep evidence such as bills, receipts, and contracts. This would be for expenses such as gas, electricity, metered water and business phone calls and relates only to costs incurred due to home working.

    They 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.
  3. It is a good idea to ensure your team are trained and are 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 Cyber Security please refer to the National Cyber Security Centre https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/home-working
  4. We will always advise you to contact your insurance provider for advice. There are increased risks with employees working from home, how this will affect your insurance cost is individual and specific to you.

Benefit In Kind Tax

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.

Hybrid working can 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, others may split their time dependent on childcare etc. However you have chosen to work, SMART wish you a prosperous future.