Since the COVID-19 pandemic, an increased number of businesses have had to embrace the idea of working from home. While you may not think so, employers have the same responsibility for the health and safety of their homeworking employees as for any other employees. This means providing supervision, education and training, as well as implementing enough control measures to ensure the homeworker is protected.
What is a lone worker?
A lone worker is someone who works by themselves without close or direct supervision. This includes independent contractors, freelancers or self-employed people. Homeworking is something that’s often overlooked by employers. They think that because they’re in their own home, they’re considered to be safe. But a homeworker can be more susceptible to an impact on their wellbeing.
The impact COVID-19 had on homeworking
In late March 2020, the UK Government imposed a national lockdown. They informed us that all employees and businesses must work from home where possible. As a result, the topic of lone worker safety was pushed to the forefront for many companies. With the need for social distancing in all aspects of our lives, the rate of lone work for many organisations increased significantly.
The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed most of us to experience ‘work from home’ life. Some of us like it and some don’t. Some of us may find that we’re more productive when working from home. Because of this, employers are now adopting new ‘hybrid working’ arrangements that allow employees to split their working time between home and the office. This is usually agreed upon between the employer and its employees. This new way of life means that more and more people are now working from home.
How can you protect your homeworkers?
Employers must take the necessary steps to ensure that their employees are protected and kept safe while working from home.
Establishing a healthy and safe working environment for lone workers can be different from organising the health and safety of other workers. Some things to consider include manual handling, the medical suitability of the individual to work alone and whether the workplace or environment itself presents a risk to them.
Additionally, having systems in place to keep in touch with them and respond to any incidents is important. First2HelpYou has a range of lone worker devices which could help you protect your lone workers. The devices will also give the individual/s peace of mind, knowing that should they need help, it’s just a button push away.