For many 2020 brought about the year of home working and in some cases flexible working arrangements. These changes have naturally been largely adopted by those working in office-based jobs which can be performed remotely. Research conducted in the autumn of 2020 has also indicated the trend of home working is due to continue with many workers reporting that they are more productive at home with a greater feel for autonomy over their work. occupational health
In this article, we look to build upon the early tips for home working through the lockdown with a wider focus on how to develop good occupational health and safety in workers who are looking to operate from home for the foreseeable future.
1. Determine the monitoring levels needed as a manager
One of the main issues that can come from working from home is a lack of instant feedback and requests that can be made in the office. From an occupational health perspective, managers need to consider the need to check-in and determine output from staff. This can be detrimental if it is a method that is introduced because of the working from home arrangement, however, do consider if you need to monitor the output of hours of workers, but keep the employee involved in the process.
2. Introduce a shared calendar to develop a routine
With workers operating remotely, many will be unsure of the routine they and their co-workers are operating on. Investing in a shared calendar in the form of a Google calendar or another provider will help your workers understand when is best to arrange meetings, calls, and other work events.
3. Ensure employees have workstations that are safety optimised
For many office-based ergonomics are not an area taken seriously, however with many being out of the office either permanently or until the early months of 2021, the risk of ergonomic issues has increased. Ensure workers have chairs with good lumbar support, wrist rests for keyboards, and are working in a well-lit environment. This will help improve the occupational health of workers operating from home and reduce the chance of RSI. Good ergonomic posture has also been linked with increased mood and productivity.
4. Encourage breaks and exercise
No longer having to travel to the office can be both a blessing and a curse. This break in routine may lead to a drop in physical activity which can be detrimental to both personal and occupational health. Encourage your workers to take regular breaks and spend time outside when they are working from home. This will help get them away from their desks and help develop a better routine.
Prioritise well-being in workers when they are remote working
The current talks around the HSE Congresses and interviews have stressed the need to focus on the ‘health’ aspect of health and safety in addition to the focus on ‘safety’. This is even more important in the world of home working. Employees need to feel their well-being is protected and looked after if they are going to find fulfillment in their work. Fulfillment, a good routine, and healthy working practices are all ways to increase employee productivity at work.