COVID-19 Home Working

As an employer I would acknowledge that working at home alone without as much contact can induce stress. Workers may feel they don’t have as much support or structure to their work.

COVID-19 Home Working

For those companies who have may have sent staff home to work, you might be tempted to just ensure employees have a laptop to work from and that it is not worth getting employees set up with a complete workstation load of equipment.  And in some cases, you might be right…

However… Be reminded that you as an employer (or person responsible for others at work) you have the same responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers…

Things you should consider are:

  • Risks to workers working alone at home: Can you keep in touch with them?  (have you provided a mobile phone, or do you know their own number so that contact can be maintained?).
  • Are they medically sound enough to work at home safely?
  • Are there dangers with their work – are workers using dangerous equipment and maybe live remotely so are unable to get help?
  • What work activity will they be doing?  For example, if they are sewing, have you provided them with safe and maintained work equipment? 
  • Are they trained and competent in the use of the equipment to work alone safely? (You don’t want to cause any injuries).
  • If workers are using a computer, how long will they be using it for?  Have you provided advice or information on safe set up and maybe provided them with some equipment to ensure they have a safe working set up?

It is important to note that working from home or away from the main office reduces ability of workers out on the field to adequately gain access to safety documentation.  This makes it important that you as the employer give workers key information and training along with any updates regularly.

Computer use:

Using a laptop whilst sitting on the sofa might sound cozy as anything, but if it is for 8 hours a day, this will take its toll and become uncomfortable and even unsustainable for some employees, however if it is only used for 1 hour a day, this would be deemed as an acceptable risk.

For longer term users (over an hour) I would recommend your workers carry out a ‘DSE Self-Assessment’  on their workstation.  This can be sent back to you as the employer to review and discuss any issues raised.  If you need any help let me know!

Reasonable adjustments during this time for longer term homeworkers should they be needed AND after the DSE Self-Assessment has been completed, might be: keyboard, and mouse, laptop stand, adjustable chair, table lighting, but could be as simple as just some advice and tweaking the layout in your own home.  Don’t forget this doesn’t mean buying new, these items could be transferred from the normal workplace to home.