Having an appropriate working from home (WFH) policy has become essential, given nearly half of Australian employees now work remotely, Ai Group HR experts said at a webinar this week. 

Employers need to set clear expectations for WFH, agreeing upfront on the basics such as work, health and safety (WHS) considerations, resources and inter-team communication, Ai Group Workplace Advice Line Workplace Adviser Airdre Mattner said. 

Several employers have ended up in court over these issues and other WFH-related matters such as productivity monitoring and the suitability of roles to be carried out remotely. 

If WFH is an option, employers need to:   

  • Consult genuinely and thoroughly on any proposed changes 
  • Prioritise safety by ensuring any remote working model is compliant with WHS obligations 
  • Devise communication plans on an organisational, team and individual level
  • Plan ‘anchor days’ to encourage face-to-face collaboration and 
  • Share responsibility with employees to ensure there is appropriate technology, internet access and programs for WFH environments. 

“It’s important that businesses are aware of their obligations in creating safe and sustainable WFH conditions,” Ms Mattner said. 

“Meanwhile, employees need to understand that not every job can be performed remotely.” 

Fellow Ai Group panellists Deep Patel, Senior Membership Executive Victoria, and Elizabeth Spence, Workplace Advice Line Workplace Adviser, shared insights on other topics resonating with Ai Group members including:  

  • recent changes to parental leave, 
  • implementing a performance improvement plan and 
  • addressing misconduct. 

They answered questions on a variety of issues raised by those who attended. 

Ai Group members can call the Workplace Advice Line for support on any of these issues. Not a member? Get in touch on 1300 55 66 77.  


Wendy Larter

Wendy Larter is Communications Manager at the Australian Industry Group. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a reporter, features writer, contributor and sub-editor for newspapers and magazines including The Courier-Mail in Brisbane and Metro, the News of the World, The Times and Elle in the UK.