Lockdown has seen a dramatic rise in homeworking. However, in order to stay operational and fully functioning, there are concerns that employers have been overlooking the health and safety aspect of working from home for their employees.
Occupational health plays a huge part in managing the transition from the workplace to the home workplace, and we will discuss some possible solutions to ensuring the health and safety of your employees whilst working virtually.
Before the pandemic, homeworkers only made up around 5% of the workforce. This is now estimated to be at around 34% of workers according to ONS.
Due to the unexpected nature of the shift to homeworking, businesses have had the sudden need to integrate their systems and processes into the new virtual working world in order to deliver their services.
A downside to this is that many employers have dropped the ball when it comes to ensuring their employees’ welfare is a high priority. A recent survey showed that only 1 in 8 employees have undertaken an employer-led homeworking assessment since workers were ordered to work from home if they can.
Reports show that beds and sofas are the most commonly-used home working spaces, replacing the office desk. It is thought that work-related musculoskeletal injuries will soar in the next year, putting an obligation on employers to undertake a thorough health and safety risk assessment with all employees to ensure they have a safe space to work.
What can I do as an employer to ensure workers’ health and safety at home?
- Communicate with your employees and assist in setting up a homeworking space
- Undertake a risk assessment to identify potential problems and control risks
- Provide the appropriate basics for a homeworker such as furniture and tech
- Host wellbeing calls/virtual meetings for employees to check in on their welfare – working from home can be very isolating
- Ensure adequate rest breaks are being enforced so that employees can separate home and work life
If you need any assistance with managing your homeworkers, please give us a call on 0161 603 2156 for a free, no obligation chat – our friendly team will be happy to assist.