The year 2020 saw a shift in the global job market with the work-from-home trend growing due to the global pandemic. According to recent data from Pew Research, that trend will continue as it is estimated more than 71% of the workforce will work remotely at least five days a month by 2025. With this evolving work environment, professionals will be tasked with providing the same safety and comfort expectations for those employees working from home as they have historically been held accountable for in their facilities.
A Safe Environment for Remote Workers
Whether your remote employees are working full-time or part-time for your organization, creating a comfortable and safe workspace for them is very important. Regardless of location, when employees work in a safe work environment, not only are they protected from injury and illness, but research has shown they are more productive, produce higher quality work, and experience increased morale. All of this has been shown to reduce absenteeism and turnover while lowering injury and illness costs.
For employees working locally, it is easy for safety and health professionals to assess work environment conditions and address safety concerns. This is not the case for remote employees. Because of this, employers should regularly review remote worker’s workspace set up to ensure your employee is safe while working from home.
Creating a Safe At-Home Workspace for Remote Workers
Below are safety topics and questions you will want to address with your employee:
- Is your workspace away from loud noises, distractions, and is devoted to your work needs?
- Are the floors clean and free from spills, cords/wires, and other potential slip/trip/fall hazards?
- Is your work area adequately illuminated and ventilated?
Emergency Preparedness and Fire Protection:
- Do you have a functioning smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in or near your workspace?
- Are walkways and doorways unobstructed?
- Is there at least one multi-use fire extinguisher available and unobstructed?
- Are all electrical cords in good condition?
- Are the electrical outlets used appropriately and adequate power supply to the office equipment?
- Is the equipment powered off when not in use?
- Have you received ergonomics training and an evaluation for your home office space?
- Is your back supported while sitting in your chair?
- Do you have enough space under the work surface for your legs?
- Are the keyboard and mouse devices in front of you and close enough to avoid reaching?
- Have you received cybersecurity training?
- Is your computer system up to date?
- Do you use up-to-date anti-virus software and regularly run system scans?
Comprehensive At-Home Safety Self-Inspection and Checklist
Getting eyes and ears on remote workers can be a challenge. However, with proper planning and a strategic safety plan that regularly reviews a work-from-home employee’s work area, safety and health professionals can feel confident that they are working to create the safest space possible.
Briotix Health has created a free comprehensive safety checklist and self-inspection which can be used by safety and professionals and/or managers when meeting with remote employees. We recommend this tool be used quarterly to encourage remote employees to maintain a safe work area.