How to Manage Safety and Well-being for Remote Employees

The workplace is rapidly changing, which presents opportunities for a better blend of work and life balance. Increased productivity is often cited as a benefit since the workers do not have to spend long hours commuting. Additionally, companies can save on expenses by not maintaining a large office or spending neither on food. Besides, the employees have the flexibility of working from home.

But, it also has its limitations. Do we clearly understand the problems?

Many people are working from home, without any contact with their coworkers, friends, or family members for the first time. Our routine is disrupted causing additional anxiety, stress, and strain on our physical, mental, and financial health.

Additionally, businesses use remote work models to grow into strategic locations. Studies show that remote workers frequently struggle with loneliness, dissociation from work, and communication. Protecting employees’ health and well-being is another biggest challenge employers face.

Business leaders and human resources understand the importance of maintaining remote team members’ well-being at work. It can potentially be great to boost employee morale, improve retention rates, and help avoid unwanted stress. Here are some of the efficient ways you can support the health and well-being of your remote workers.

Stay Connected

The best thing to do is stay connected and communicate as much as possible regularly. Companies can arrange daily virtual meetings, send weekly updates, and stay connected with the team members via online chat.

This consistent level of communication will instill trust and remote employees will feel more comfortable. It also allows them to be more open and supportive. Managers should be open to discussing issues the remote workers face and resolve them through an audio or video call.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

When working from home, employers still have the responsibility to ensure the well-being of their remote workers. Seek health reports, execute a risk assessment on a workstation, lighting, ventilation, desks and chairs, computers, laptops, and other devices, security of data, insurance, and electrical installations before approving remote work applications. This would make assigning tasks easier and employers can address any health and safety concerns for those working at home.

For employees to fulfill their duties efficiently, employers must provide the equipment necessary for them to do so. The risk assessment should instruct employees to resolve any issue related to their homes.

Provide a Higher Level of Well-being Support

Employees sometimes prefer talking to someone other than their manager or team members. HR can help with both professional and personal issues from a work perspective. Remote employees ‘ well-being and mindset directly impact their productivity.

A plan for employee assistance would be very beneficial at this time. You can provide your employees with wellness support by encouraging them to open up about their problems.

Encourage Taking Breaks

The boundaries between office and personal time are clearly defined when working at an office. You arrive and start your working day, take lunch breaks to run errands with colleagues, take breaks to take coffee and visit your desk for a while, and then pack up and leave your work mindset behind. There are interruptions and interactions during the day.

Working remotely may be challenging for people who feel they have to be contactable at all times. Remote employees should therefore be encouraged to take short breaks during the day, every day.

By changing your attitude and management style, you can ensure remote working works for your employees as well.

Consider Rotating Workloads

The well-being focus has mostly been on the current environment, and how we can adapt to it, but you mustn’t neglect the fact that your employees still have to carry out their task activities, and this can be stressful for them.

Could you help any of your employees struggling with their workload by dividing some of their tasks with other employees? Those who have transferable skills can take advantage of this opportunity to gain experience across other teams by helping out with their colleagues’ duties.

Impact of Isolation and Loneliness

People often feel isolated when working remotely. So, it is essential for managers and HR to check on the team members and find out how they’re doing. As feeling lonely can lead to depression and other mental illnesses. Understand any significant changes you see in your team members’ personalities or their work because it may indicate that they are suffering.

A majority of home-based work involves office-type tasks and is considered low-risk. But employers must still protect their employees’ well-being by law. If you are employing remote workers, be sure to conduct a reasonable risk assessment by your HSE officer. It is advisable to complete a suitable risk management checklist to approve an employee’s request to work at home.

Active team collaborations and encouragement for remote employees experiencing COVID fatigue can make a big difference in their mental and physical health. You should always remember that thoughtful communication is key, no matter the medium.

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