Working from home has become more common since the pandemic hit in 2020. Thanks to COVID-19, 2020 brought about new ways of working, and for many of us throughout the UK and the world - this was at home.
Working from home isn’t going to be suitable for everyone. Many jobs simply cannot be done from home due to the nature of the job or the job holding too many risks to be done at home, whereas in the workplace, a correct health and safety risk assessment is done to keep all staff members safe.
Keep reading for more information on the potential risks whilst working at home and on how to handle risk management from working at home.
Working From Home Risks
A hybrid working situation is something that both employees and employers seem to favour and are open to, with both working from home along with face-to-face office time in the week seeming to be the most popular and flexible way of working for many.
Working from home can be much harder for employers to manage the health and safety expectations of their staff, along with standards - and of course legal health and safety regulations.
There are a lot of office-based jobs out there that will only require a worker to have access to a computer, an internet connection and a desk - this is fairly achievable at home with minimum risks attached. However, when equipment is required to do a job, for example, machinery or perhaps harmful substances, it would be considered too much of a risk and too many hazards involved in allowing employees to do their job anywhere other than the business workplace.
Benefits of Working From Home
It is not all risks and no benefits of course, as working from home has many advantages too, which is why it has proven to be so popular in recent times. It could support a better work-life balance, from being able to spend more time with children and family to being there to pick them up from the school gates. Other benefits could include rehabilitation for a worker returning to work after a break or due to illness, a smaller commute, greater flexibility, and less need for office space.
Health and Safety
There is an act in place to support people at work from harm. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is a legal requirement that ensures the safety of all employees and any other people on the working premises including visitors, customers and temporary staff.
Employers need to ensure the physical environment around employees is safe, including fire safety, cleanliness, waste management and the handling of harmful substances.
Employers can potentially carry out a home risk assessment in some cases, for the inspection of hazards in their staff members' homes. This of course would have to be arranged and agreed upon by each employee.
Risks to Consider When Working From Home
It is much harder for employers to monitor the health and safety of their employees whilst they work from home. Different hazards and risks will arise depending on a particular job, some common hazards and negatives to the physical and mental health of employees to consider when workers decide to work from home include:
- Manual handling
- Display Screen Equipment
- Limb disorders - particularly the upper body from working on a computer
- Electrical equipment - not being safety tested
- Stress - without the support of colleagues around them
- Slips, trips and falls
- Lack of motivation
The risks when working from home are down to each worker to manage their own health and safety of themselves and the environment around them. A decision about whether workers are allowed to work from home has to be made and then employers must trust their employees to manage their own risks whilst at home. All employees should be offered health and safety training so they are knowledgeable about the risks involved whilst at work, Beaconrisk offers a range of Health and Safety online courses that are available on our website.
Health and Safety in 2022
The health and safety laws help to prevent work-related accidents, illnesses and even deaths. Not all jobs are doable from home, but with the ones that are, employers have now been forced to think about new ways to ensure that their staff are kept safe - so that they comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act.
New ways of looking after staff whilst at home could include making sure staff are still engaged whilst they are at home by doing regular check-ins, group video call meetings, or group chats. This kind of support can limit the stress of employees and reduce the loneliness element by keeping everyone engaged with each other, no matter where they work.
If you need any further help or advice from us at Beaconrisk, please get in touch with us.