Hybrid working is essentially flexible working, where you can either work from home or in the office.
Some employers will ask you to come into work most of the week but work from home a couple of days, whereas others will only require you to come into the office a couple of times a month.
More and more businesses are offering hybrid working opportunities following the pandemic.
There are plenty of benefits of working from home, but have you considered the health and safety implications?
Keep reading to learn more about the health and safety implications of hybrid working.
Something everybody needs to consider when offered hybrid working opportunities is driving. If you’re an employee, you’ll have to do a number of things to ensure that everything is above board.
If you previously told your insurer that you’re only working from home (e.g at the start of the pandemic), and you’re now spending part of the week in the office, then you’ll need to make your insurer aware of the change. Failing to do this may affect your insurance policy.
If you’re an employer, then you may be responsible for an employee's actions if your employee is driving to multiple work locations as part of a hybrid approach.
To ensure that you are not vulnerable to prosecution, ensure that your employees are insured, have a valid driving licence, and are safe to drive.
Everybody Is Different
Although many people may like the idea of working at home, others may prefer the social aspect of working in the office.
Some people will only have the chance to socialise when at work, and may become isolated when working from home.
This can have negative effects on a person’s mental health - it could worsen existing mental health issues and could even lead to depression.
Another thing that employers should consider is work/life balance. When working from home, many people may struggle to ‘switch off’ at the end of the workday, as their home is now essentially their office environment.
People working from home may also forget to take breaks or eat lunch, whereas in a workplace they would be reminded.
Employers should check in with their employees to ensure that they are managing their workload, taking breaks, and not feeling isolated.
It’s an employer's responsibility to ensure that employees can work safely and effectively - so this may involve providing relevant equipment.
Although you may not need to provide a brand new desk or a printer, you should ensure that the employee has the right equipment to be able to work from home.
For example, call centre employees should be provided with a headset, and if they don’t have a computer or laptop, then they should be provided with a laptop.
To ensure that you know exactly what your employees need, you could request they fill in a questionnaire or tick a checklist.
Some people may need a special cushion for their back while sitting on a chair, and others may need a screen cover to protect their eyes for their own health and safety.
The Health and Safety at Work Act
Health and safety doesn’t stop at the workplace - it’s important that health and safety is considered at home too.
The Health And Safety at Work Act of 1974 extends to home offices and home work environments too - as people working from home are still in the employer’s duty of care.
It’s important that hazards are identified and dealt with accordingly. Hazards such as loose wires, clutter, faulty equipment, fire risks, display screen equipment, and poor workstation setup can all pose a risk to employees and is, therefore, the employer’s responsibility during work hours.
There are also mental health aspects to consider, such as isolation, work-related stress, and mental wellbeing in general.
If the employee’s role involves sitting at a desk, it’s important that the desk is set up correctly. Poor posture, eye strain, and wrist injuries from typing and using a mouse can all be avoided with the correct equipment.