SBA Outlines the Dos and Don'ts of Remote Work

Remote work has been around for as long as work and technology has existed. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forcibly ushered in a new era of remote work to combat the abrupt closure of businesses during lockdowns worldwide.

With remote work becoming a fundamental part of business survival for the last year, it is safe to say that the face of traditional office jobs has now been changed and the idea of what defines a workplace has been challenged for many. 

Work from home data header illo

Against this backdrop, the Small Business Association of Barbados (SBA) hosted a Members’ Information webinar in March to outline the ‘Dos and Don’ts of Remote Work’ for employers and employees alike.

Acting Chief Labour Officer (CLO) and presenter, Mrs. Claudette Hope-Greenidge, stated that although remote work was still being seen as a temporary or alternate type of work in Barbados, many companies had been forced to implement this style of work for extensive periods of time since March 2020. As a result, she noted that it was very important to understand the ‘dos and don’ts’, to maintain good working relationships and to ensure that all parties involved were still operating at their normal standards.

RemoteWork

Presenter, Mrs. Claudette Hope-Greenidge highlighting the factors to be considered when working remotely

While defining remote work as a working arrangement where a worker fulfills his or her responsibilities while remaining at home principally, Mrs. Hope-Greenidge explained that such an arrangement did not mean that the employer-employee relationship should change in any way.

Emphasising this point, the Acting CLO stated that when working remotely, similar to any other type of working arrangement, there must be shared commitment on the part of the employee and the employer to ensure that business and employment continues efficiently.

She also noted that all legal rights associated with work were not stripped away as a result of working from home, and listed key pieces of legislation which should be kept in mind including:

  • - The Employment Rights Act
  • - The Safety and Health at work Act
  • - The Shops Act
  • - The Holidays with Pay Act
  • - The Employment (Prevention of Discrimination) Act 2020 and
  • - The Employment (Sexual Harassment Prevention) Act 2017

Mrs. Hope-Greenidge also provided attendees with a list of factors that must be considered by both employers and employees while working remotely. This list included the following:

  1. Employer-Employee Relationship – The contract of service becomes portable and is now wherever the employee(s) is doing the work
  2. Industrial Relations – Time for personal affairs including holidays, sick leave and vacation time is still vital and should still be granted
  3. Occupational Safety and Health – Although differently applied, safety and health while working are still of upmost importance and should be ensured
  4. Work-life Balance – Now that the lines between work and home have become blurred, the need to find balance in one’s life has become even more important. Employers and employees should make known their desires to ensure that the best possible arrangement can be made.
  5. Physical Health – Maintain an active exercise regime is important to the physical wellbeing of the individual
  6. Mental health – The impact of COVID-19 on mental health has been overwhelming and some level of care must be given to workers during this time as some employees may not be handling isolation well.

Other factors highlighted which should be discussed by both parties to ensure that remote work runs smoothly include:

  • - Whether this way of work will be short term or long term
  • - Whether the company will utilise a pure remote work or hybrid working system
  • - Cooperation between parties and willingness to be practical, flexible, considerate and available during working hours
  • - Provision and availability of appropriate equipment, supplies and services
  • - Management and monitoring systems – accountability and reward systems
  • - Security of information – employer’s and employee’s data and
  • - Clear communication on expectations.

 For more information on the Dos and Don’ts of Remote Work and to watch the full webinar, go to SBA TV at www.sba.bb