Are your staff at risk working from home_

Published on 21 Jun 2018

  • Sydney’s Epping line closed for seven months impacting 14,000 commuters
  • Gallup survey suggests 43% of American adults work remotely some of the time
  • Working from home boosts engagement and job satisfaction

With traffic and public transport a growing issue in all Australian cities, is it any wonder the workforce is spending more time working from home?

For commuters reliant on the Epping to Chatswood train in Sydney, the seven-month closure from September is expected to see more people avoiding their workplace.

Not to mention the thousands of other Sydney commuters expected to be affected as traffic around the train line picks up.

A recent Gallup survey of 15,000 adults found that 43% worked remotely at least some of the time. Technology has made physical work locations increasingly irrelevant, and with the right collaboration, tools and processes, teams can work effectively from anywhere in the world.

Do your employees work remotely? Share your experience in our LinkedIn Group.

Not only can working from home boost job satisfaction, it can improve levels of engagement and can help attract and retain talent.

“A remote workforce enables companies to recruit top candidates regardless of location, save money on office overheads, reduce employee staff turnover and manage employees based on productivity” said Sarah Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of Flex Jobs.

What is the risk to employers?

Whether having employees work from home is seen as a staff incentive, or a necessity when a train line closes, employers have the same liabilities to a worker whether they are working from home or the office.

Shontel Dashwood, Claims Operations Manager with Gallagher Bassett, offers some tips in a recent article regarding managing your risk:

Ensure healthy work practices

Such as taking proper breaks, doing exercises and consistent management of workload. If workers are remote, proper training and regular check-ins can help reinforce these behaviours when you can’t physically monitor them in the office.

Ensuring a safe workplace

As with any office, you need to ensure your employee is able to complete their job safely and effectively. This includes providing any ergonomic requirements, such as chairs with lumbar support.

Computer monitors and input devices need to be properly positioned to avoid strain or injury and serve any health specific requirements your employee might have.

Risk assessments

You are also responsible for ensuring that the work environment is as safe as it can be. This involves a proper risk assessment, looking to ensure that the environment is clear of hazards, is properly ventilated and has a clear escape route in case of emergency. Follow this up with a reporting and check in process.

Keep clear and frequent communication

For a remote worker to be productive and actively engaged in your team, it is vital they communicate frequently and effectively with managers and co-workers.

There are programs that enable communication and collaboration, but if you’re a manager, it is important to create a routine around check-ins.

APM’s experience assisting with the health and safety of a remote workforce has identified that communication and support provided by an employee’s one up manager as vital to ensuring staff performance and reduced risk.

This is true whether the employee is working from home or the office, however the risk is heightened when the ability to physically communicate is removed.

Are you minimising the risk and achieving the benefits of a remote workforce?

APM can assist you with risk management by:

  • Developing and providing training to one up managers regarding managing performance, health and wellbeing within their unique organisation.
  • Development of policies and procedures to assist with guiding and reinforcing the right behaviours.
  • Ergonomic assessments to ensure an employee’s work environment is set up correctly for their anthropometrics and health needs.
  • APM@Home – Work@Home ergo. Online WHS and ergonomics training and online ergonomics self-assessment. A cost-effective way to assess remote workers and ensure that they take ownership of their own safety and wellbeing. The system can be integrated with the employers existing LMS system, or APM can provide an LMS platform for the employer to use, track and enforce. If risk factors are identified that are unable to be resolved independently by the employee, APM can progress the support and assistance provided to the employee as required.
  • WHS Risk Assessment. APM is able to provide a documented risk assessment for your employee’s work from home environment.

If you want to know more about keeping your team safe and growing a healthy workforce, contact APM WorkCare today.


Phone: 1300 967 522