With the government recommending homeworking to minimise the spread of Covid-19, it’s important to make sure your employees are safe and well.
Most businesses will be thinking about the technology aspect of home working to ensure it is business as usual but there are plenty of other considerations.
As an employer, if you are asking your staff to work from home, you need to complete a homeworker risk assessment. An assessment checklist should be completed to enable employees to evaluate their home workplace for health and safety purposes. If there are any issues then the manager must take all reasonable and practical steps as soon as possible to rectify them.
The assessment should be completed on the first instance of home working and annually thereafter or whenever there is a change to the situation.
Part of the risk assessment should cover fire safety. Check that they have smoke alarms fitted and they have been tested recently. Make sure they have thought about evacuation routes and exits in case of a fire.
Data protection/confidential information
It is likely that employees will need to access commercial and sensitive personal data while working from home. This is a major security risk. You need to have measures in place to safeguard any data and protect you from any breaches while colleagues are home working.
The property and equipment you provide to home workers will need to be covered by your corporate insurance policy. Empolyees will need to understand their obligations to ensure they always protect their company property while working from home.
They will also need to tell their insurance company that they are working from home as this may affect their cover should they need to claim for any reason.
With employees working from home it is likely they will fall into the lone working category. It is essential that you keep in regular contact with your employees to check that they are healthy and safe.
Employees still need to feel supported even though they don’t have direct contact with managers and colleagues. Phones and video calling play an important role so try not to purely rely on email as the only form of contact.
Working in an isolated environment can cause stress and impact mental health. To help employees minimise the risk you should encourage a positive work life balance. Ensure your employees are still taking regular breaks and they stick to working hours. There should be no expectation from them to work more (or less!) due to them being at home.