COVID-19: taking an inclusive approach to remote working

This toolkit, COVID-19 : taking an inclusive approach to remote working, offers insight and advice on how employers can take an inclusive approach to support employees likely to be working from home during the pandemic.

Business in the Community (BITC) has identified four key areas for employers:

  • How to take an informed and people-centered approach to the crisis
  • How to ensure the basics are in place
  • Suggestions on how to adjust communication styles to reflect new working practices
  • How to help carers care

A widespread shift

The widespread shift to home working during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed caring arrangements for much of the workforce, and in addition, many businesses are having to make difficult budgetary decisions to save money.

Ensure policy changes are sensitive to individual circumstances

Use this toolkit, COVID-19: taking an inclusive approach to remote working, to ensure an inclusive approach is taken when making decisions. For example, different demographic groups experience different caring responsibilities. In the UK, one in four families are headed by a single parent1 and some communities have much greater expectations around looking after elderly family members.2

Employers should ensure that policy changes, including support available from managers, are sensitive to individual circumstances.

For more information, see BITC’s COVID 19: Supporting Carers in the Workplace toolkit.

Adapting policy to fit the current crisis

A great example of adapting policy to fit the crisis comes from law firm, Eversheds Sutherland. Eversheds Sutherland have extended their time off for dependants and now offer:

  • five days of paid leave for emergency care
  • one extra day of leave back for every four days holiday taken for caring duties,
  • flexibility on working hours to help colleagues manage additional new demands and pressures.
References
  1. We are the 1 in 4; Gingerbread; available at Gingerbread.org.uk
  2. Coronavirus UK: The government wants over-70s to self-isolate but what about Asians who live with their families? (2020); Faima Baker; Metro.co.uk; available at metro.co.uk