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Home working essentials for managers

Under strict new measures to try to slow the spread of coronavirus all non-key workers in the UK have been told to work from home. Here, we look at the responsibilities of FMs in ensuring compliance is maintained for remote based workers. 

While employees are temporarily working from home you should consider:

  • The best way to keep in touch with them.
  • What work will they be doing?
  • Is the planned work able to be completed safely?
  • Are control measures needed?

WORKSTATION AND DSE
The HSE have advised that for those working from home temporarily home workstation assessments are not needed.

If possible IT equipment, in addition to laptops, should be provided.

  • Does the employee have the correct IT kit, for example screen, mouse?
  • Does the employee have a desk or makeshift desk? Can a kitchen table be used for example if a desk isn’t available?
  • Can the employee work comfortably? Will using cushions make the seating more comfortable?
  • Does the employee know how to get help with IT or kit issues?
  • Breaks should be taken from DSE work (a minimum of 5 minutes each hour).
  • The employee should change position regularly, get-up and stretch.
  • If an employee doesn’t have the correct work equipment, breaks should be taken every 25 mins to stretch.

EMPLOYEE WELLBEING
Especially in the current climate employee wellbeing is paramount. Many employees may now be working from home; this could be a sudden change to their working arrangements and there is uncertainty as to how long this will be for. There may be multiple family members working from home, when previously a home worker has been used to quiet time and space when being based at home.

  • Regularly check that your employees are ok, keeping in place lines of communication and detecting if they are becoming stressed or feeling down.
  • Support communication between team members.
  • Put in place an emergency point of contact, where they can get help if need be.

Encourage employees to:

✓ Define work and rest time.

✓ Set up a designated workspace.

✓ Get dressed.

✓ Write a daily to-do list.

✓ Contribute regularly to team chats/group emails and encourage ‘non-work’ conversations.

✓ Ask for support when needed.

  • If an employee is ill, they should take time off.
  • Encourage employees to do some sort of exercise at lunch time even if its walking round the kitchen or stretching.
  • Encourage employees to eat healthy foods; it’s easy to snack on crisps and chocolate. Drink plenty of water.

TRAVELLING FROM HOME
If your employees travel from home to appointments, a lone worker risk assessment may be needed. It’s particularly important to make sure you know where they are, who they are with and when they are expected back.

WORK

  • Utilise online training and meetings.
  • Encourage employees to let you know if they have queries, questions or worries.
  • Telephone contact/video calling should be encouraged.
  • Tell employees what is going on with the rest of the team and the wider business – being aware of the full picture can help avoid employees feeling isolated.
  • Be aware that young or inexperienced workers may need additional support.
  • Set realistic KPI’s.
  • Discuss and agree daily with each member of staff what they are aiming to achieve for that day.
  • Think about your tone and wording.
  • Listen carefully to their tone of voice, are they feeling stressed or anxious?

About Sarah OBeirne

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