Employers globally are finding themselves extending remote work policies to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, for many businesses and employees alike, teleworking is uncharted territory. While navigating this transition, employers must keep safety at the forefront, ensuring each employee maintains a healthy work environment.Employees, suddenly working from home, are not likely to consider the safety of their new workspace. Here are guidelines that you can share to ensure they are avoiding unnecessary risks.
When working from home, it’s easy to put comfort at the top of your list. Your work area should be comfortable, but it should also be a space that is safe and promotes productivity.
- Maintain a dedicated, clean, and clutterless workplace that is free from distractions
- Ensure heavy equipment, like computers or printers, are placed on a sturdy stand or desk close to a wall
- Clear walkways and ensure they are free of wires and obstructions to prevent a tripping hazard
- Verify that lighting, temperature, and ventilation of your workspace is adequate
Just as corporations have to meet safety regulations and implement safety plans, you must do the same for your remote work environment.
- Develop and practice a fire evacuation plan in the event of an emergency
- Ensure smoke detectors are equipped with batteries and work properly
- Always have a working fire extinguisher in your home
- Verify that portable heaters and radiators are not near flammable items
Avoid shocks, sparks, and surges, and make sure to use electrical equipment and power sources properly.
- Technology and electrical components have proper ventilation and are kept out of direct sunlight and away from heaters
- Never overload electrical circuits
- Utilize three-prong, grounded outlets and surge protectors to prevent a power surge
- Power down computers and other electrical equipment during a thunderstorm
As a remote worker, the computer is likely the essential component of your work experience. Treat all electronic equipment with care and follow these guidelines to ensure your safety and limit technical issues.
- Technology and electrical components are safeguarded from damage and misuse
- Files and computer data are secure
- If applicable, computers are equipped with the latest anti-virus software and connected to a secure VPN
As a teleworker, before you begin arranging your home office or remote space and resort to trading in the office chair for the couch, take a look at these personal guidelines to keep you safe and comfortable in your workspace.
- Use proper lifting techniques when moving or lifting heavy equipment, like a desk or computer
- Arrange equipment including desk, chair, and computer to promote a comfortable and ergonomic workspace (ie. the top of the computer screen should be at eye level)
Companies across the globe are in positions they’d never imagined, and top-level leaders are forced to answer questions that are being asked for the first time. As you navigate the situation, keep in mind that your employees are looking to you to help, guide, and reassure them during this time. Even if remote work is new to you and your employees, the key to success is promoting open and honest communication to ensure your employees have a safe, secure, and productive remote work environment.