Practical tips and considerations in supporting your staff working from home.
We’ve all experienced working from home over the last six months. During that time, we probably envisaged that we would be back in the office by now. However, the latest government advice issued in September 2020 encouraged people to continue to work from home if they can and it’s probably worth taking another look at your procedures for home working.
There is a plethora of information out there regarding staff working at home, it can be difficult to navigate what’s important for your staff. In this blog, we summarise some of the key issues to consider when supporting your employees working from home.
With remote working, it’s even more essential that your management team are able to be aware of staff wellbeing, and given the tools to support their team while working from home. Consider providing your staff and management team with the training they need to manage effectively remotely.
You should also advise staff to take practical steps to keep as healthy and motivated as possible, such as:
- Plan ahead and take regular breaks
- Make sure you take your lunch break – use it to move about
- Drink plenty of water
- If it’s possible, vary your tasks – laptop, phone calls, paper work
- Watch out for trips or falls, trailing electrical cables, mats, steps or even pets
- Test your smoke or CO2 detectors
- Control the noise level where you work
- Make sure your work equipment is PAT tested
Health and Safety
When staff are working at home, you may need to remind them to adopt the correct posture when working at a laptop or computer. For example:
- Make sure your arms and shoulders are relaxed
- Don’t lean forward and keep your head balanced
- Position your screen an arm’s length away with the top of the screen at eye level
- Sit back in your chair to maintain good back support
- Keep your forearms parallel to the desk
- Keep your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest
- Maintain some space behind your knee
You may wish to consider asking staff to complete a DSE Checklist whilst at home. They have probably completed one with a DSE Assessor sitting alongside them at their workplace in the office, so should have some knowledge of what is required. You can ask them to download and complete an assessment and return to their Manager or HSE for review.
Equipment and Technology
As employers you are responsible for the equipment and technology you provide employees so they can work from home effectively. This means discussing equipment and technology with your employees to agree what’s needed and support them with setting up the new equipment or technology.
We all know that IT systems can cause issues despite our best efforts to avoid them. It’s important to regularly assess how your systems are working, and make improvements where possible.
Raising awareness for where staff can access IT support can help to alleviate these issues and help support your employees while working from home.
Did you know your employees are able to make a claim towards additional costs incurred via HMRC’s Personal Tax Account process? You can find out more on the Government website by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account.
Data Protection and Security
Data security is also a key issue when working from home. A recent survey has shown that:
- 29% of people leave documents lying around the house
- 50% of people use their personal email account to send and receive work documents
- 19% of people get rid of work documents in the household bin
- 7% of people use an unsecured Wi-Fi network to send and receive work documents
Learn more about the importance of Cyber Security training and the Human Firewall in our blog.
You will also need to remind staff of their responsibility under the Data Protection Act 2018 and The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Although they are working at home, their responsibilities do not stop at the office door and still apply.
Keeping in touch
Communication between your staff, whether that’s 1-2-1’s with Line Managers, team meetings or virtual social events, keeping in touch is critical for promoting positive wellbeing while working remotely.
Make sure your teams are checking in daily, and where possible, arrange daily video catch up calls where you can quickly spot any issues before they become more serious.
How we can help
If you have any questions or would like guidance on training and supporting your staff while working from home, please get in touch. You can contact us via our contact form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.