Law guide: Workplace

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Working from home

Working from home

Doing your job from home, either some or all of the time, has become increasing common.

Pros and cons of homeworking

Benefits include:

  • More flexibility about the hours you work, allowing you to meet commitments at home, like childcare
  • Freeing up time and money that might be spent travelling
  • Helping to reduce stress

Drawbacks include:

  • The possibility of feeling isolated
  • Missing out on office-based learning opportunities
  • Your employer may insist that you're available at home during normal working hours, so you may lose some of the flexibility that working from home can give
  • You may have to sacrifice living space to set up a workstation that will satisfy health and safety standards
  • Your employer may insist that they inspect your workstation to make sure it's suitable, meaning you'd have to let them into your home

Homeworking health and safety

Your employer has the same health and safety duties to you when you're at home as they do when you're in the workplace, though you must take reasonable care of your own health and safety.

It's possible they will visit you at home to perform a risk assessment, but they could also ask you to assess yourself by sending you a questionnaire about your home workstation – they can then tell you what action to take (if any).

They should review the assessment if your circumstances change (e.g. if you move home, change the room you work in, or they give you new equipment to use).


There is, generally, no legal obligation on your employer to provide you with the equipment necessary for homeworking. Whether or not they do can depend on whether you already have it, such as a PC/laptop and an internet connection.

If you don't, they can provide the equipment to you - and this might be preferable if there are security or legal compliance risks, or if you need specific items to perform your duties.

Note that the law requires employers to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled homeworker. This means they may need to provide such workers with suitable equipment (or reimburse their cost of getting it).

If you do use your own equipment, ensure that it is properly maintained with the latest software updates so that it doesn't cause security vulnerabilities and compromise your employer's data protection obligations.


You may incur increased costs because you work from home, such as electricity and heating. But there isn't a legal obligation on your employer to pay or contribute towards this.

If you haven't chosen to work from home voluntarily, you can claim tax relief on your extra costs. This could be paid by your employer as tax-free allowance or you can claim it yourself.

If you want to work from home

Speak to your employer. You may be able to make a formal flexible working request.

If you don't want to work from home

Unless your contract says you're required to work from home, your employer can't make you – note that your contract may be partly in writing and partly verbal. Nor can they make you take work home with you after a day in the office. Your working hours should be set out in your contract and mustn't exceed the limits set out in the Working Time Regulations (unless you have consented, in writing, to opt out of these limits (Working time limits)).

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