Health and Safety Chat

Letting the staff work from home? what do you need to consider?

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Steve Schroder

7th Mar 2017

20 years ago the term working from was nearly unheard of. As we shuffled along to our day (or night) jobs, we all accepted that the office was or second home.

However, as the trends move more and more to employers offering more flexible working conditions and employees working from home has become (with the advancement of new technology) a more viable alternative. But do employers need to consider what risks are involved with letting your staff work from a home office?

The simple answer to this is yes, but the more involved question is how far do your responsibilities extend when the home is specifically excluded from the Health and Safety at work Act 2015?

The answer to this has not been tested to my knowledge. However, here is my take on it. Working from home while being a viable alternative for some people does have its own risks. How You manage breaks and stresses of the homework place can be tricky. What is important is that as managers we need to recognise that while some employees can manage home-work life balances without many stresses, other may struggle to find the balance that allows them to function in this space.

Employers are understandably for the most part concerned about how to monitor at-home workers to ensure they get their jobs completed (productivity). However, managers also need to help your staff set limits because employees who don’t know when to stop working may be at risk of burning out and becoming less productive. (speaking from personal experience on burnout)

you do need to be able to do is be able to prove that you are taking all reasonable and practicable steps to manage the health and safety risks in your business.

In my view how you educate yourself and your employees and learning how to disconnect from your work, will be the key. For example: Giving your employees information on things like procrastination and the effects that have on stress levels, ensuring the employee knows regular breaks are the company’s expectation.

For us lowly business owners, the ornis then falls on ourselves to ensure that we are taking regular breaks and managing our stress levels. I do things like have a set of clothing just for work, to ensure that mentally I am in different clothing to my normal clothing. If you can lock the office. Make it as much like you are going to the office and leaving the office so that home remains home. All these sorts of things help provide segregation from the home and workplace.

Also, have time where you are unavailable and learn how to disconnect from yourself from work. This is just common sense! i.e. ask yourself when do you have your down time?

At smart safety solutions, we specialise in customised safety systems for businesses, to make them relevant to both your business and your employees. If you think that your systems need work or you simply want a second opinion, or you simply want to ask a couple of questions, then give Steve or Susan a call today and see how we can help you.

Remember safety just doesn’t have to be that hard!