What is it and why have one?
A working from home checklist ensures that an employer is fulfilling their obligation to provide employees with a safe and appropriate work environment in accordance with Workplace Health and Safety requirements. It is a guide to educate and manage the potential risks of the working from home environment, to see effective work and productivity of employees regardless of location. It is important that employees understand the responsibilities and expectations that are to be upheld and maintained as they work from home, inclusive of the policies and procedures that remain applicable regardless of the change of environment.
Duty of Care
An employer holds a duty of care for an employee regardless of location. In response employers must audit a work from home environment in consideration of potential Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) risks, to ensure hazards and issues are identified and addressed promptly.
It is an employer’s obligation to assess the workplace for any foreseeable harm to employee physical, mental, and psychological health and to take reasonably appropriate measures to maintain this.
An effective Working From Home Checklist should consider:
- The environmental influences that impact the work environment and work production such as: lighting, screens, work surfaces, ventilation, temperature control, furniture placement, trip and electrical hazards, appropriate and secure document storage, power outlets, appropriate installation of safety equipment such as fire extinguishers/blankets etc, appropriate installation and use of manual handling equipment and assistive technology.
- A documented communication strategy in place between team members and locations, to communicate appropriate company changes that may influence upon employee productivity or process.
- The implementation of regular physical activity breaks and work practices that include designated task and stretch times to see employees change posture and move often throughout the working day.. For example, scheduling of regular keyboard breaks and sitting times to ensure both are intermittent.
- Establishing work from home boundaries that determine set work hours with other household members, identifying potential distractions and the implementation of preventative strategies to reduce such.
- Maintaining employee mental health strategies such as regular communicative efforts with colleagues and team members to promote positive working relationships, ensuring that all employees are feeling connected within potentially isolating environments. Encouraging employee use of environmental elements, such as music or outdoor space to create balanced work breaks and routine when working from home.
Assurance HR Management assist many employers to uphold and maintain duty of care to employees, working with businesses to conduct Workplace Health and Safety reviews, to develop and update policies and procedures, and to initiate employee compliance/awareness through signage, forms, training and checklists. If you would like assistance or have any queries, call us today on 1800 577 515.