Home office: rules employers & employees need to know

Are employees in your organization working from home?

With an increasing number of people having to work from home at least one or two days per week, especially during our current government-mandated lockdown, it is safe to say that the future of work is in a transitional phase.

Although working from home can be practical and flexible, it should be a requisite that employees do not take to their sofa or dining table.

Poor working conditions can easily backfire and can lead to physical discomfort and later health complications. This applies to both short-term and long-term wellness of your employees.

Throughout this article, we will be outlining the following aspects of remote work:

  1. The rules for home office setups
  2. What must be available to remote employees
  3. How to furnish a home office
  4. How employees can finance their home office setup through a gross pay deduction scheme

At this stage, one might be thinking that this will be a costly affair for an organization, but there are other ways to support employees with a better home office setup than to spend a fortune of purchasing furniture inventory and then deal with the enormous hassle of getting it out to employees and then manage it on an on-going basis. One of these options is to subscribe to a furniture as a service model, allowing HR to easily provide better working conditions for employees, who working from home. 

What rules do you need to follow?

The requirements for an employee's work environment are the same, whether you work from home or from the office:

  1. The employer must provide all necessary equipment (relevant electronic equipment, etc.)
  2. Office furniture and other necessary equipment for an employee to carry out their job, contributing to a healthy work environment

A home office is subject to the same rules as an ordinary work place with respect to desks, office chairs, and lighting. Employees must also be insured by their employer, when working remotely. 

The responsibility falls solely on the employer to guarantee that the conditions, as outlined in the Danish Working Environment Act, are met.

Since employers don’t have access to their employees’ homes, it ultimately becomes the employees' responsibility to attempt to make sure that the conditions are up to standard, especially in regard to health and safety. In a traditional office environment, this is an issue that would not normally weigh on the employee's shoulders.

What must the employer make available in the case of remote work?

As outlined by the Danish Working Environment Authority, if an employee regularly works from home (surpassing 7.4 hours per week), the same universal rules apply as if they were working from a traditional office space.

This means:

  • A home office must have a workstation or furniture that allows the employee to work with proper posture
  • The employee must have access to an adjustable office chair that is suited to their body type
  • In conjunction with the employer, the employee must consider whether they need an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse in order to best facilitate their work 

Please refer to the government-mandated guidelines here.

How to furnish a home office?

In order to create the ideal work environment, a key factor is to have the right furniture. 

Although employees are working from home, it is still the legal responsibility of the employer to ensure they don’t sustain any work-related health problems. For this reason alone, the desk, office chair, and lighting must all fulfil certain requirements.

The desk must be deep enough to host a computer, monitor, keyboard, and any other necessary work-related equipment. The desk must have the appropriate height to facilitate normal sitting positions, and there must be enough space between the individual and their monitor.

The chair should be ergonomic, allowing the employee to adjust both the seat and the backrest. This allows them to sit comfortably for prolonged periods of time. They must be able to sit for 50 to 60 minutes without any discomfort.

The lighting should be sufficient. When employees work from their computer, various light sources can generate bothersome reflections. As such, it is important to have proper room lighting as well as a proper desk lamp to eliminate any eye strain, especially when carrying out desk work.

 

Can employees finance their home office, using a gross pay deduction scheme?

 

In short, yes!! Because office furniture is 100% work-related, employees can literally "hire" office furniture through their gross pay (but they cannot buy office furniture through gross pay). That is to say, they can utilize their salary before it is taxed on an office furniture subscription on a monthly basis and thereby save essentially half of the cost.

There are a few rules that apply when getting office furniture this way:

  1. The employer and the employee must have a written agreement that the employer will be deducting the employee's home office furniture subscription through their gross pay (pre-tax salary).
  2. The gross pay deduction scheme must not go against any other existing contracts or legal agreements.
  3. It must constitute an actual wage reduction for at least 12 months, meaning that the employee will be deducted on a monthly basis for the usage of the furniture for a minimum of 12 months.
  4. The furniture will not automatically be owned by the employee after the subscription period.

    You can read more about gross pay deduction here or contact us for more information at info@omnified.co.

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