Do I need to provide broadband for homeworkers? What's my obligation?

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Do I need to provide broadband for homeworkers?

Posted on 16 July 2021 by Beaming Support

As many workplaces make a permanent move towards a flexible, hybrid approach to working at home and in the office, employers that settle on a fully or semi-remote set up have questions about their ongoing responsibility for providing the broadband employees use to work from home.

Do I need to provide broadband for homeworkers?

There are many business benefits to providing and paying for homeworkers’ broadband, though there’s no legal obligation to do so. The advantages of installing a dedicated work broadband connection to remote workers’ homes include:

  • Control over the Internet Service Provider (ISP) used
  • Centralised and consistent billing
  • Enhanced security
  • Improved performance
  • Centralised support

In this post we’ll answer some of the questions we’re often asked about providing business broadband to home working employees.

If I do provide broadband for homeworkers, can I stipulate what they use it for?

This is one of the big advantages of providing employees with a dedicated internet connection for work – you can make sure it’s only used for that purpose. This helps with security by keeping work and business separate, improves performance, gives employees the ability to use certain technologies and influences the service levels you’ll be entitled to. Read this article for a full breakdown of the advantages of using a separate, specialist business connection for working from home.

If I provide homeworkers with broadband, can I choose which internet service provider to use?

When you’re supplying the connection, you get to choose which ISP is used.

Not all broadband providers are the same, as we explain in this guide to choosing a broadband provider for your small business. Employees may be more motivated by price and deals that include TV and other services, while priorities for your business lie more in reliability, speed and knowing you’re in safe hands should there be a problem.  When you’re choosing the provider you can go for a business-grade connection from a provider you can rely on.

Do we have to reimburse remote working employees for their broadband?

If you expect employees to use a separate business broadband connection for work then you will have to pay for it, but this gives you peace of mind that they’re working securely, on a reliable connection and with good support in place should there be a problem. You won’t need to reimburse your staff because the ISP will bill the company.

By using the same internet service provider to bring a business broadband connection to all of your remote working employees’ homes, you’ll know that your monthly bills will be consistent and centralised. No need for workers to submit expense forms or claim allowances.

Will employees need two routers?

Yes, your business broadband ISP will send a router out to each worker that needs one, and should give them easy instructions to plug it in so that it doesn’t interfere with their own home broadband. The router should be specially configured so that workers can easily connect to remote desktop applications and VPNs.

What if an employee leaves the company?

If you have to cease a connection whilst still in contract you would most likely pay termination charges, so when you’re choosing your ISP, make sure to be clear on contract lengths and be wary of those that try to sign you up to deals on very long terms. If an employee were to leave you don’t want to be stuck in a lengthy contract you’ll have to pay to cancel.

 What if an employee moves home?

A good business internet provider will manage a transfer of services to make sure there’s as little disruption as possible to your employee. If the ISP is unable to offer a like-for-like transfer of services due to the new location, they should be able to help you choose the best available connectivity option.

What if an employee’s connection goes down?

They’ll want to report the problem, have it resolved and get back to work as quickly as possible, so when you choose the ISP that will connect your employees to the internet, be sure to research their support. You’ll want to know that your staff aren’t spending hours hanging on the phone waiting for a resolution, and that a Service Level Agreement (SLA) is in place to fix any major problems as quickly as possible.

Another advantage of your staff having separate connections for work and home use is that you’ve got in-built resilience. In a pinch, home broadband or a 4G connection can be used for work for a short period of time until the business connection resumes so there’s no worries about not being able to work.

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