Research from the professional body, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), indicates that permanent hybrid working will be expected by employees in a post-pandemic world. Following a national survey, 57% of employed people wish to continue to work from home, or at least have the option – forming a hybrid workforce.
Making sure there are interventions and working practises in place to support employees is essential in order to keep them safe – whether at home or in the office. CIPD has also reported that the shift to homeworking has increased productivity of employees, with 71% of 2000 employers claiming productivity has increased or stayed the same.
To remain compliant with the law, employers must consider the safety of their employees who work from home. The steps below provide guidance on what is expected by the Government, and how to make hybrid working a success:
Employers must maintain communication with their staff, both as a team and one-to-one. Working from home can be isolating to some workers so it is important to have regular conversations about their workload, training requirements and their mental health.
Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessment
Safeguarding employees from risks relating to computer equipment at home is important to ensure a sustainable way of working. Employers should review this by providing a self-assessment for employees to fill out, while making sure their staff are educated to achieve a comfortable sitting position. Failing this could present irreversible damage in the long run, such as back pain and bad posture.
Healthy work-life balance
Employers should encourage their staff to take regular breaks throughout the day and make the most of annual leave. Those staying at home sometimes work longer hours and are at risk of burn out.
Safety of electrical equipment
Employers are required to ensure all equipment provided is safe to use and in good working order. It is not law to be responsible for annual PAT testing, however it is a good idea to educate staff on the hazards of overloading extension cables and using the equipment in a safe environment.
Working from home does make communication more complicated and it is essential that employers know where their staff are by means of regular contact. It is important to have an emergency contact number for each member of staff. In the case of not being able to contact any membr of the team, employers will still be able to confirm the employee’s wellbeing.
Employers should also consider the reverse, and make their employees aware of who to contact and what to do, should there be an emergency.
RIDDOR – Reporting accidents at home
Employers are responsible for reporting any accidents that occur as a result of employees carrying out work or using equipment to carry out said work while at home. They must also report occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences e.g. near misses by filling out a report online.
To minimise risk of injury and accidents, it is imperative to educate employees on the risk associated with trailing wires and obstructions.
Employers must carry out risk assessments for all their staff to ensure a safe environment to carry out their duties. Using the above recommendations will allow employers to manage the risks of stress from working from home and to make sure all employees have a suitable place to work.
If you require guidance on the points listed above, please give us a call on 01538 399199. If you need legal support relating to all aspects of Health & safety in the hybrid-workplace, contact us.