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24/02/2021

Webinar - Remote Working Safety Challenges

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Webinar - Remote Working Safety Challenges

What can health and safety professionals do to meet the challenges presented by remote working?

That was the question we aimed to answer with our most recent webinar: ‘Remote Working Safety Challenges – How technology can assist you’. Read on for the webinar recording and our breakdown of the 5 key take aways from the session.

 

Watch the full webinar recording below:

 
 
 
Listening Guide
 
  • Welcome Message: 00:00 - 01:20
  • Introduction to Panellists: 01:20 - 03:46
  • Ensuring employees have the correct remote working set up  03:46 - 11:38
  • What do businesses need to be doing now? 11:38 - 29:42
  • Identifying hazards and areas of risk for at-home working  29:42 - 36:56
  • Identifying mental health and wellbeing issues 36:56 - 41:26
  • Conclusion 41:26 - 43:51

 

1. Working from home is no longer temporary

 

  • In the beginning, it was assumed that remote working would be a temporary arrangement. It has been 12 months since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and working from home is looking more permanent for some.
  • Working from home cannot simply be considered a job perk anymore.
  • Managers need to assess the working conditions of their employees a year on. Are people in co-living situations? Are they trying to juggle home-schooling with working fulltime? Do they have a desk at home or do they have to set up their workspace everyday?
  • Some businesses are now contemplating a flexible approach to working for the future, with a mix of home and office based options. Businesses must consider the impact that this will have on their employees, not just from a cost-saving perspective.

 

 

2. Communication remains as important as ever

  • Its vital to have regular check ins with employees.
  • Communication should be 2-way, not just talking at staff.
  • If staff are required to complete risk assessments or DSE assessments, then instructions on how to do so should be clearly signposted.
  • It is a good idea to hold regular company updates with employees. These don’t have to just be for significant announcements. The future is a significant worry for many employees and consistent communication with their employer can go a long way to allaying these fears.
  • If you are planning on implementing wellbeing plans or other initiatives, consult with employees and follow through with them.

 

 

3. Safety processes for home working must be formalised

 

  • Conversations relating to employees living spaces can be difficult for managers to have.
  • Businesses should look to have completed DSE and Risk Assessments for their staff who are working from home, as well as wellness action plans.
  • While there doesn’t currently appear to be concrete evidence of claims, it is something that companies are expecting in the future.
  • According to the panel, H&S professional need to make sure that they:
     - Protect the employees
     - Protect the organisation
  • To achieve this, risk assessments, DSE assessments, training records must be thoroughly documented and resources clearly signposted for employees

 

65% of respondants said they were not using software to manage remote working

(Engage EHS survey)

 

 

4. Pay special care to employee mental health and wellbeing

 

  • The distinction between work life and home life has become blurred for a lot of people.
  • Peoples sleeping patterns may be disrupted and without a daily commute, movement throughout the day may be drastically reduced.
  • While Managers cannot be expected to be mental health experts, they still must be able to prove duty of care to their employees.
  • Anonymous surveys are a great way to engage with employees around potentially sensitive topics such as mental health, wellbeing and emotional state.
  • Managers should check in with employees as much as possible, and encourage them to take breaks and have downtime.
  • If your business is moving towards a flexible style of working after the pandemic, consider the impact of this on employees. While it can mean no commute, it may also mean the removal of a vital social outlet.

 

 

5. Its vital to properly prepare for a return to the office/ worksite

  • Staff may require training around new hygiene protocols and risk assessments may need to be updated
  • Managers should understand that there may be a high level of anxiety around returning to work, not just from a COVID-19 perspective. Many people have had greatly reduced social contact over the past year and any return to work programmes should address these issues.
  • Work closely with high-risk individuals to facilitate a return to work that is as safe as possible.

 

 
 
 
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*Please note that the above content does not constitute legal advice from Engage EHS or members of our panel

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