Rachel Sharp Editor's message: Millions of people have had no choice but to work from home as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, and the experience has prompted many employers and employees to think about making the arrangement permanent.

For many organisations, this will mean reviewing existing homeworking policies and the documentation that supports them – for those who will in future work from home as well as for those who are expected to return to the workplace in due course.

In managing temporary arrangements, employers will recognise the need to be flexible in the hours that employees work, although it may be necessary to set out core hours during which staff are required to be available. It is also important that employees discuss changes to working arrangements with their line manager and communicate with them about the hours they are working.

Employees should be encouraged to take rest breaks while working at home, and employers should remind them of the resources available to help them to look after their physical and mental health. Employers may also need to clarify arrangements for booking and taking annual leave to ensure that homeworkers have time away from work.

Regular communication will help to ensure that the arrangements work smoothly and that team spirit is maintained while employees work from home for an extended period, and these may need to be formalised if homeworking becomes permanent.

Rachel Sharp, HR practice editor

New and updated