How To Manage Health & Safety For Homeworkers

How To Manage Health & Safety For Homeworkers

It’s not news that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that we all work. Almost all industries have been affected, and numerous businesses that once ran in the traditional ‘9–5, Monday to Friday’ way had to suddenly embrace their employees working from home for the very first time this year.

And when the UK lockdown first hit out of the blue in March, it’s not surprising that employers and business owners had to focus on getting their staff sorted from an IT perspective.

Employers had to make sure that they had a working from home policy in place, and that their staff had everything they needed to keep doing their jobs efficiently, effectively, and with as little disruption to their productivity and performance as possible.

But now that we’re several months into the pandemic, working from home has gone from a temporary measure to a permanent feature for lots of businesses out there, and employers now need to play a little catch-up. Because it’s about more than just employee output…

All employers have a responsibility to look after their staff’s physical and mental health—even if their staff are not in the office. Here are a few things you can think about to ensure you’re taking care of staff’s wellbeing while they’re working from home:

 

  1. Encourage a proper workstation

To meet the requirements of a health & safety risk assessment, your employees should carry out their work at a desk or a table—whether that’s in an official home office or simply at the dining room table.

While there might be temptation for remote workers to ‘make the most’ of being at home, sitting in an armchair or on a sofa or bed means their wrist on the mouse would be unsupported, the viewing angle of the laptop would be wrong, and they could increase their risk of eye strain.

 

  1. Keep an eye on breaks

Last year the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially categorised burnout as a workplace phenomenon. The WHO said: “Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

Employee wellbeing needs to be taken seriously, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on working hours—all staff should be taking regular breaks and sticking to contracted hours so they’re not overworked or at risk of burnout.

 

  1. Check display screen settings

Staff should be asked to check their display screen settings when they’re working at home, and a display screen assessment typically forms part of an overall health & safety risk assessment.

A display screen assessment includes such things as making sure the contrast, brightness and colour are set correctly, the room you’re working in is light enough and well ventilated, your back and neck are supported, and you don’t have to stretch to reach the mouse or keyboard.

To find out more about health & safety courses and how to make sure you protect your people while they work from home, get in touch with us today.