With more of us than ever working from home as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all had to make adaptations required to support this new working environment.
As well as ensuring that the right technology is available to our teams, including digital security solutions, employee health, safety and wellbeing should always be among the highest priorities for any organisation.
The difficulty for organisations unaccustomed to teams working from home is that, when working in an office or other type of dedicated workspace, health and safety policies are fairly straightforward to put into place and monitor. The same is the case with supporting employees’ wellbeing, but when they’re working at home? That can be a difficulty.
Nevertheless, employers have responsibilities to protect their employees and employees also have responsibilities to keep themself protected - even when our homes become our offices.
These are some of the key responsibilities that all of us need to keep in mind:
Under the law, employers have a responsibility to assess any risks in an employee’s working environment. Where this is not possible, for example, during the pandemic, the employer should ask the employee to conduct a self-assessment of their workspace and equipment.
The set-up of display screen equipment is important, as a poor set up for working with a laptop or PC can cause postural problems and permanent injury. There is a checklist that can be used to make sure that everything is set up correctly, such as having a comfortable seat that provides support and making sure the screen is in the right position to prevent stooping over or straining your eyes.
Employees also have a responsibility to take care of their own health and safety when working from home. However, without proper guidance then it’s unfair to expect them to develop safety protocols on their own.
As such, they should do this by keeping in regular contact with their manager and keeping them informed of any concerns such as health and safety risks that they face within their home.
The changeover to working from home can have a negative impact on employee wellbeing, as they are now spending more time on their own, without having their team close by to get support from. Indeed, 67% of British people said they feel less connected to their colleagues as a result of working from home.
People living on their own might be particularly affected by the lack of interaction with work colleagues, so managers should check in with people to see how they are feeling. A simple, earnest conversation about their mental and physical health can make all the difference.
People working from home may also find it more difficult to switch off from work, as they are now combining their workplace with home space. It becomes more difficult to stop thinking about work, compared to when you work in a separate building and leave it for the day.
All of these factors can have a detrimental effect on people’s wellbeing and must be considered when supporting employees who work from home.
At Bob’s Business, we offer more than just cybersecurity awareness training. Our online training courses also cover all of the essentials in terms of health, safety and wellbeing. These engaging courses are ideal for completing by employees who are working from home and managers of teams who are home based.