Recent changes in Government Guidance and ongoing repercussions due to new COVID-19 variants have inevitably led to organisations instructing employees to work from home.
However, a wide range of research also shows that many workers prefer to continue working from home at least some time, presenting opportunities for organisations to establish new ways of working as they think of long-term strategies to adapt to new realities.
Research shows that while some workers prefer working from home permanently, even should the pandemic abruptly end; most would choose a balance in the workplace some days of the week and at home for the remainder.
This approach has recently been named hybrid working.
From various perspectives, the notion of hybrid working can seem complex to some. For example, some businesses and employers may have concerns about implementing the right tools to oversee employee productivity.
Additional considerations may arise relating to profitability, health & safety, or mental wellbeing, along with balancing and implementing suitable control measures to keep office spaces accessible and safe for all users.
Also, for some businesses and employers, the concept of hybrid working may present trepidation due to fewer employees present on-site during regular working hours.
Employees working from home are still under an organisation’s duty of care to ensure their health and safety. Hybrid working could even come across, to some, as operating as many offices as your total number of employees!
However, with the right tools and systems, your organisation can ensure ongoing operational performance and improve employee satisfaction, reduce costs, and increase profitability in the long run.
But what actions should your organisation prioritise to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of your employees who opt for hybrid working?
Train your managers and involve them in the process.
For example, managers can help your organisation oversee remote DSE self-assessments to ensure that everyone’s at-home working environment is compliant with UK Legislation and suitable for efficient and productive work.
Consider signing up your managers for a mental health awareness course so that employees’’ wellbeing and signs of poor mental health can be recognised and rectified immediately.
Review, assess, and upgrade your equipment and risk assessments.
Listen to your people’s feedback and consider whether the equipment you provide them with is in line with their needs.
Investing in additional resources can lead to long-term organisational success.
Consider reviewing the control measures you have in place in your offices, such as temperature screening monitors, dividing screens, individual desks, or disposable PPE.
Your risk assessments should also be updated to reflect hybrid working practices.
Consider addressing the use of electrical equipment, slips and trips, emergencies, lone working, and reporting accidents for both home workers and office employees.
Carry out regular reviews and check-ins with your employees
Agree on regular team meetings or check-ins between managers and employees who work from home.
Alternatively, you could also arrange for small groups of employees to meet in the office, from time to time, for team gatherings and catch-ups.
Carry out regular workplace Health & Safety inspections
Ensuring that office spaces remain safe for all is paramount to the ongoing success of any organisation. In addition, carrying out monthly workplace inspections can help you in assessing what works are needed, such as scheduling system testing, maintenance programs, or other statutory needs that may be required.
Assess any specific needs.
You can engage with a competent person to carry out an individual risk assessment for any employee with a temporary or permanent disability or if she is a new or expectant mother.
Specific measures may be more suitable than others, thus allowing the employee to work comfortably and be productive.
How can we help?
Reach out to our team of expert consultants for a friendly chat on how we can help your business succeed, in the long term, by adapting to hybrid working practices while
ensuring legal compliance with UK legislation and proactively managing
organisational health and safety aspects.