Sun Alliance guides end homeworkers’ isolation

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

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

By Ben Willmott

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