Implementing lone worker alarms is a big project for any business. The work that goes in before a solution is rolled out will include; risk assessments, lone worker policy drafting, research, smoothing over the technical side of things and getting approval from your bosses.
That’s why, after all of your hard work, it can be extremely disheartening that your lone workers aren’t engaging with their alarms in the way you envisaged. It happens. Usually, because an important step of the process has been missed out or there are issues within the business.
However, don’t worry as every problem has a solution and the most common reasons that employees may not be enthralled with their lone worker alarms, have some relatively simple fixes. Read on for our advice on ensuring that your employees engage with their devices or apps, right from the start.
Don’t Leave Lone Workers in The Dark
Communicating with employees about using lone worker devices shouldn’t start after you have already decided on a solution. Speak to employees before you do anything else.
Your frontline staff are the most knowledgeable people in your business when it comes to knowing what the lone worker issues are and what solutions would work. Spend time with lone workers getting to understand their pressure points, how devices might impact their roles, what type of devices they would be open to and most importantly; start sowing the seeds that you want to help protect them, not watch them.
If you’ve tried devices in the past, or are thinking of switching to a new lone worker solution provider, then find out what isn’t working with your existing solution. The common feedback we have heard from lone workers who have used other providers is that their devices aren’t easy enough to use, or that the batteries don’t last. Once you have established the problems you can start looking for a provider who will meet yours and your employee’s requirements.
This early engagement with your staff will ensure that they are engaged with the project right from the start and that they have some degree of control.
Train Lone Workers Effectively
This might be hard to believe, but we find that any employees who are usually giving employers ‘trouble’ when it comes to using their device haven’t been trained correctly.
When an employee feels anxious, stressed or ill-equipped, it can make them behave in ways which may seem uncooperative. Lone workers have a lot of pressure placed on them due to the nature of their work, and having a device or app which they haven’t a clue how to use will only exacerbate tension.
Ensure that you train your lone workers on not only how to use their devices, but other essential skills such as conflict management or dynamic risk assessments. An informed, well-equipped and trained lone worker is a happy lone worker.
Pay Attention to Your Company Culture
How is the general attitude to safety within your business? If the environment is one where rules don’t apply to everyone, or safety is seen as a bit of an annoyance, then this will filter down through the business to every single employee.
Having a safety positive company culture starts right at the top. To ensure that the issue of lone working isn’t kept to your particular department or teams get senior members of staff involved with your project and help set the tone – ‘safety is taken seriously by this business’.
A caring attitude also goes a long way when it comes to your employees engaging with a lone worker solution. Show your staff that this isn’t a ‘box-ticking exercise’ and get them on board and feeling positive.
Monitor/Manage Lone Worker Alarms Usage
The word ‘monitoring’ gives an instant image of being watched or may make employees feel as though they are being watched, so it’s a word best left off the agenda. However, if you have spent time and money investing in a lone worker solution then you need to know it is being utilised! That’s where a management portal comes in handy.
If your lone workers use any of our products, you gain access to a nifty tool called Connect. Through our management tool, you will be able to view valuable information, such as the number of activated alerts and devices which aren’t being used.
We call it a management tool as in addition to reporting, you will also be able to see the status of your lone workers in real time. This includes their last reported location, current device status etc. This information enables you to proactively manage usage, by heading off any problems as they arise. Poor usage can be immediately spotted and the relevant employees communicate with.
If you find yourself in the rare scenario where you have followed provider advice, rolled out your lone worker solution and employees are still less than receptive, then it may be time to get tough.
If you can’t identify any valid reasons why your employees won’t engage with lone worker devices, and you have established that there is a degree of risk to their safety (usually via a lone worker risk assessment), then you might want to enforce usage. This can be done in several ways; drawing up ‘lone worker agreements’ with employees, reinforcing that usage isn’t optional in your lone working policy, or adding usage rules to your company handbook.
How you work with staff which fail to acknowledge these measures is down to your senior team, but it’s not uncommon to use written warnings as a ‘first strike’.
The good news? This scenario is fairly rare and if you follow our tips, be honest with your staff and making sure they understand that their safety is your number one priority, you shouldn’t face any usage issues.
If you would like more advice on lone worker device usage, then please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have decades worth of experience in this sector and have helped every size of business protect their staff. Fill in our contact form here, or email [email protected]