Working From Home–Is There An Issue?

by Oct 8, 2021All Posts, WH&S

In this new season of pandemic, we have an unprecedented rise of people needing to or asking to work from home. What you may not realise though is that your responsibilities as an employer to make sure your people are safe in the workplace to continue, even when the workplace is their home.

What kind of things do I need to be aware of?

First of all, think about what physical equipment do your staff need to work. This doesn’t just apply to a laptop or a computer, but an appropriate desk, chair, etc. Some businesses are allowing staff to take their work chair home to ensure they’re comfortable for a long work-day, and other similar measures to make sure the workspace is ergonomically set up.  It’s also worth making sure they’ve got a space to work in that’s appropriate. If their workspace is a kitchen bench shared with teenagers trying to cook it’s probably not going to be effective.

Here are some great tips for your employees to help them get used to working from home:

  • Purposefully identify and set up your workplace, rather than grabbing your laptop and sitting on the couch.
  • Make sure it’s comfortable–and identify what changes you can make if it’s not.
  • Talk to other members of your household about how things will work, respect one another’s time and space.
  • Establish (and stick to) routines, including breaks, and the start and end of each work-day.
  • Dress like you’re going to work.
  • Factor in exercise and breaks into your daily routine.
  • Set alarms to remind you to stretch, take a break, and eat properly.
  • Stay off social media during work hours.
  • Keep confidential and personal information secure.
  • Check in with your colleagues from time to time, just as if you were at work with them.
  • Communicate regularly with your managers and team–more communication is better than less!

Are your staff trained to assess their workplaces to ensure they are safe?

We assist a lot of businesses in ensuring their staff are safe while working from home. Recently I heard of a staff member who sued his employer because he tripped on his own carpet, whilst “working” at home. This is a legitimate concern for employers. Clutter, unsafe electrical cords, poor ventilation (it’s not unheard-of for working-from-home parents to hide with their laptops in cupboards to get away from noisy children) and other risks become your concern when your employee’s home becomes their workplace.

If you have staff working from home or are considering it, give us a call and lets discuss the impact it could have to you and your business, and how we can help you assess and minimise the risks. Give us a call on 1800 577 515 or email at info@assurancehr.com.au or you can book a chat at https://calendly.com/adrian-ahr/book-a-15-minute-chat

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