Cloud computing has increased the ease with which employees can work remotely. But employers should first carefully consider the potential consequences to ensure they protect their business…
This week I ordered some kitchen chairs from Tesco. Not a particularly interesting story so far but trust me, it does have a link to cloud computing. The chairs were to be delivered on a weekday, so someone had to stay home all day. To my surprise every one of my three flatmates said they could work from home if they wanted – something that would not be possible without cloud computing.
Not the actual chairs that inspired this blog
In case you’re worried, the story ends well as my chairs were delivered on time. However the relative ease with which many employees can now work from home throws up some interesting questions for employers.
The answer is that the employer is responsible “so far as is reasonably practicable”. Therefore you should conduct a risk assessment of their home to identify hazards and assess the degree of risk to them. There are additional obligations if you also provide them with equipment. Who insures that equipment? It also makes sense to reserve the right to enter the employee’s home (with notice) to inspect for the purposes of health and safety and repairing equipment.
Your employee’s IT network is unlikely to be a secure as your own
Crucially, you should require the employee to secure his workstation as well as any wireless networks. The employee will also need reminding of Data Protection legislation. Employers themselves also have to be aware of Data Protection rules protecting the transfer of personal data where, for example, employees (whether alone or as part of an international office) are based outside of the EEA and have the ability to access and view personal data through the cloud. If you find that homeworking is causing performance issues then it might be time to commence disciplinary or capability procedures.
Whether you already allow your employee to work remotely or you’re just thinking about it, we would like to hear from you. Our employment law specialists can help you to protect your business whilst getting the most out of your workforce. Contact us on 020 7234 0200 or email@example.com.
If you’d like to read more about the cloud, you might be interested in Chloe Taylor’s blog highlighting the problems the cloud poses for litigation and what you should be out looking for or perhaps Carole Hailey’s piece on how technology companies and cloud providers don’t always see eye to eye.
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