Working from Home amidst Coronavirus: Employer Guidance
The Coronavirus has created more remote workers than ever before. Whether this is a short term situation or more long term, working safely is a shared responsibility by the employer and employee, whether that work takes place at a designated worksite or a home environment.
Just like at the traditional worksite, the employer needs to establish and clearly communicate all policies and procedures related to their expectations of the employee, while acknowledging their role in supporting the employee to achieve established work standards and expected outcomes. Which is why we have created the Employer Teleworking Policy Checklist to see how well prepared you are for managing your home workers.
One of the advantages of working from home or “teleworking” is that it affords flexibility as to when one completes their work. While there may be requirements for attending online meetings, being accessible by phone or email, or completing tasks by certain deadlines, in the end, does it matter what time of day the work is being done? Many workers are being forced into a new working paradigm and have challenges with the demands of young children who are out of school and family members who are vying for help or attention. Flexibility to get the work done will provide a necessary mental health break while ensuring work can be completed.
Health and Safety Requirements
The employer also has certain legal responsibilities, particularly when it comes to managing the health and safety of the employee. Just because an employee is working from home, it doesn’t mean the employer is free of its legal obligations to protect the worker from possible hazards.
Employers must practice due diligence by taking reasonable steps to ensure the home environment is safe and hazard free. While your Provincial laws may require you to perform a hazard identification/risk assessment of your employee’s environment, that doesn’t mean you can charge into an employee’s home without permission. It also isn’t a safe approach to visit a home location in this current health climate.
Consider if it is possible for a health and safety representative to evaluate the home’s work premises using an online protocol. Or perhaps the employee can complete an inspection on their own, using a predetermined process (checklists, photos, etc.).
Refer to Employee Checklist for Working at Home.
As a reminder to employees about the basics of good posture while working at home, we have provided a copy of our Workstation Posture Checklist which includes information on laptop ergonomics.
Refer to Workstation Posture Checklist.
Remote Office Assessments
As more and more employees are turning into remote workers, it is imperative to ensure that their new “work environment” is designed to accommodate their needs and prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from occurring. To book a remote workstation assessment, please visit: