Insurance giant Royal & Sun Alliance has introduced policies to ensure the growing number of its employees who work from home receive the same support and feedback as office-based staff.
The firm drew up the guidelines, which relate to issues including health and safety, communication, performance management and isolation, because of the specific needs of its 1,500 homeworkers.
Lynne McBride, HR consultant and home working project leader for RSA, said, "We recognise that they have unique needs and have issues they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis which office- based workers don't, such as isolation and intrusion of work on their home life and vice versa."
The guidelines are based on suggestions put forward by a homeworking project team, comprising of homeworkers, managers and HR and union representatives.
McBride said that one of the most important issues addressed was the performance management of homeworkers, who are mainly highly mobile claims advisers and inspectors who don't need a centralised office base.
She said, "It can be difficult to give people feedback on their role when they are not in front of you. We introduced a structured approach, which included at least four days a year with their team leader and more time if they need more."
Another issue tackled is the sense of isolation often felt by those who work from home.
McBride said "We wanted to raise awareness so our staff know their team leader is at the other end of the phone and there are other homeworkers they can talk to. There is also an employee assistance programme."
RSA is to introduce further home working policies on intrusion, team working and learning and development.
By Ben Willmott