Q During lockdown our employees all worked from home. We subsequently discovered this was a satisfactory way of working, both for us and for them. As the lease is shortly ending on our office premises, we have therefore decided not to renew it. Do we need to look at changing our employment contracts?

A A standard contract of employment does not cover homeworking arrangements. If you intend to keep homeworking arrangements for your staff their contracts of employment should reflect this and outline specifics relating to place of work, hours of work, expenses, tax exemptions, confidentiality and data protection, rights to enter. Trial periods and review times may also need to change.

Regarding place of work, you could add a provision stating there may be a requirement to attend the office, as the situation and your view on homeworking could change. There should also be a provision that ‘home’ being the place of work is subject to change, should the employee move house. With many homeworkers adopting flexible working hours, you should outline the core hours they are expected to work.

Expenses is an area where situations and cost outlay to the employee are likely to differ considerably from office-based working, so again be very specific, especially. as there may be tax exemptions/implications for the employee, depending on how expenses are handled. For the protection of your business, your staff and your intellectual property, ensure there are clear provisions within the employment contract for data security. The provision of a ‘right to enter’ clause is essential to allow you to carry out risk assessments and install, maintain or retrieve company equipment. Finally, you may need to amend your provision for trial periods and reviews, as what worked in respect of office-based staff may no longer be feasible. It would be sensible to have your employment contracts reviewed by an employment solicitor who can look at your specific business requirements.