Supporting and protecting lone workers
With the new Covid19 lockdown in full effect and the associated restrictions to manage it, home working has become the new normal for many of us. Companies have invested considerably in technology and systems, so employees are able to work from home and keep business going as best as possible. It is predicted that this trend will be a permanent feature of work life. With this development, the skills to support home workers is becoming an integral part of management responsibilities.
The HSE guidance states:
‘As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers.
When someone is working from home, permanently or temporarily, as an employer you should consider:
- How will you keep in touch with them?
- What work activity will they be doing (and for how long)?
- Can it be done safely?
- Do you need to put control measures in place to protect them?’
Lone workers without supervision
There will always be greater risks for lone workers with no direct supervision or anyone to help them if things go wrong. Home working can cause work-related stress and affect people’s mental health. Being away from managers and colleagues could make it difficult to get proper support.
Keeping in touch
Staying in regular contact with lone workers, including those working from home, and ensuring they are healthy and safe comes under the jurisdiction of the duty of care for you as a manager.
If contact is poor, workers may feel disconnected, isolated or abandoned resulting in lack of motivation and stress. In contrast, micromanaging may take away the autonomy of an employee and can suffocate their creativity and productivity. Conversations with the employee that will enable a good balance of support and autonomy are crucial in ensuring trust from remote workers.
Put procedures in place so you can keep in direct contact with home workers so you can spot the signs of stress as early as possible. It is also important to have an emergency point of contact and to share this so people know how to get help if they need it.
The above article is taken from ‘Managers Managing Mental Health and Wealth‘ a FREE ebook for anyone who books our exclusive HALF PRICE 1-2-1 coaching sessions.