Obligations and considerations for businesses with employees working from home. 

Since the pandemic there has been a significant shift in organisations allowing their employees to work from home, but is it a case of out of sight, out of mind? 

Companies need to ensure that home workers have everything from having the correct information and working equipment to mental health and monitoring workload to ensure work can be carried out from home both safely and efficiently. 

Businesses must follow the same protocol to ensure that employees working remotely have the same health, safety, and work practices as they would in the office.  UK Health and safety legislation insists that employers ensure a safe workplace for all employees, including those working from home.  At Officeworx we have learnt that a third of employees do not have a dedicated workspace. We have heard of numerous scenarios of employees using iron boards as lap-top stands, using dining room chairs as an all-day working chair, and placing books (the Officeworx catalogue) underneath monitors raising the height and working from beds, sofas, and dining tables.  We supply a vast assortment of health and safety items, from footrest to monitor stands, from sit-stand desks to comfortable and compliant office chairs.  We can advise on all aspects of safe working from home, which is why I have put together a list of five things you need to do for all your home workers. 

  1. A Working from Home Policy

It is a clever idea that employers create and enforce a working at home policy. This is not a legal requirement it does provide clear guidance and information as to what is expected from home workers as well as the Company’s obligations to the employee.  This also helps to avoid and resolve and future arising issues as a result. This could include advice on what equipment is provided and what to do in events of theft, damage, or broken items.  When and how a risk assessment will be carried out to ensure working is practical and safe. Employees could feel that physical or mental wellbeing is becoming an issue, or they do not have adequate resources or lack of care from employers. The policy should also outline the working hours the employer expects. 

  1. Concerns

A tried and tested route for employees to raise concerns about work practices, equipment, IT, training, and physical and mental wellbeing should be established. A work-life balance should be adequately maintained. 

  1. Regular Communication

Employers should stay in regular communication with employees to monitor performance, manage workload and monitor health and safety. Rapid communications allow for issues to be dealt with swiftly and halt escalations. It is crucial that employers see signs of stress and manage workloads, offering support, training, development, and promotion. 

At Officeworx, we strongly recommend the use of a VoIP telephone system, which we also use within our team. The technology allows all of us to stay connected and collaborate seamlessly whether we are working from the office or remotely. With the software Univerge Blue, we can make calls, video calls and engage in live chat, allowing us to communicate efficiently and effectively without the caller knowing where we are. 

  1. Work Environment

Risk assessments should be carried out regularly for all home working employees to establish if the environment is set up as comfortable and safe. 

This ranges from how to set up a desk, chair, computer screen, keyboard, and mouse to ensure no bodily harm is caused. This avoids poorly set up working environment, including back problems and headaches from display screens.  The employer should encourage the set-up of a safe working environment and allow employees to take regular breaks away from their desks. Arranging equipment and furniture to avoid trailing leads and cables. Check plugs, wires and cables are in good condition. Adequate lighting is key as this prevents eyestrain and avoids slips and trips by keeping the working area tidy and free of obstructions. 

Revilo have the perfect product range for working from home furniture. From ergonomic chairs to standing desks, they have it all. Plus, their products are stylish and on trend, making them a fantastic addition to any home office. View their latest promotional flyer. 

  1. Equipment

Thought needs to be given to all equipment that an employee needs to be able to perform their job correctly. This could be items like laptops, but also safe power leads, adjustable desks and chairs, keyboard supports and gel mouse pads. 

Data needs to be stored correctly and especially if employees are saving company data to their own personal devices which should be avoided, and it puts the employee and the business at risk if there is a data breach. 

I have put a non-exhaustive list of equipment that you may need to provide or to consider purchasing. 

The Officeworx team are willing to assist you in selecting the right products for your employees who are currently working from home. We will provide you with helpful recommendations to ensure that your employees are comfortable and productive while working remotely. Keep a look out for our ‘work from home’ bundle deals on stationery supplies, ergonomic products, and office furniture. 

Browse our online store for product ideas: https://shop.officeworx.co.uk/ 

Written by: Howard Law 

Reference source: ons.gov.uk