A RADICAL change in the way we work post-pandemic means that more employees are remote workers. But how can you ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of your team when they are no longer based in one office? In this blog, John Crockett, Health and Safety Manager at Acorn Safety Services explains more.
WHILE the modern workplace may be evolving and many more people are now remote workers, employers are still responsible for making sure all members of staff have a safe and healthy environment to work in.
Remote workers should be treated in exactly the same way as any other member of staff, particularly when it comes to their health and safety.
While the risk to the physical wellbeing of remote workers is generally considered to be very low, the temptation to work for long hours without taking a break may in fact be far greater, leading to stress and poor mental health.
Following some basic health and safety rules will help to ensure that the trend for working from home works for everyone.
Remote workers: Risk assessments are key
Before allowing someone to work from home, you should always take the time to speak to them individually about their arrangements as remote working may not be suitable, or appropriate, for everyone.
Make sure any risk assessments cover home workers. While in most cases, you won’t need to visit a staff member’s home, you do need to make sure everyone has a healthy and safe environment to work in.
In the case of someone working with hazardous tools or chemicals, or a staff member with specific needs, you may feel a home visit is appropriate to ensure you give them the support they need.
While stress and mental health are important, ensuring employees can use their computers and laptops safely is also vital.
Provide advice about how to set up their work station, paying attention to lighting, the position of their screen and chair and use questionnaires or self-assessment tools to help you manage any issues.
Keep the lines of communication open
It is very easy for people who are working from home to become isolated and feel detached from their team – factors that can easily contribute to stress and poor mental health in some cases.
Make sure you keep the lines of communication open at all times, whether that’s through regular catch-ups online or in person. Pay particular attention to workloads at busy times – and particularly over the holiday periods – as remote workers are much more likely to suffer in silence.
Stay alert to any problems and always be prepared to pay for additional equipment which will help to make life easier for your employees. As an employer, health and safety is your responsibility and an important way of showing your team how much you care.
Advice whenever you need it
Advice whenever you need it
If you’re working with a remote team and finding it difficult to manage, Acorn Safety Services is here to help you.
Our 30-minute online consultations are ideal for busy office environments, giving you the chance to discuss any potential concerns with one of our highly trained consultants in no time at all.
We’ll get on top of the problem and give you the advice you need to deal with any issues with confidence.
If it’s risk assessments you need, we can help with that too – whether it’s relating to health and safety generally, fire or legionella.
We look forward to offering our support.