The number of people working from home has grown steadily over the last decade, with at least 1.5 million of us now cutting out the commute to the office.
The increase flexibility can bring a range of advantages, both for employers and employees, including better work-life balance, reduce travel time, higher motivation and savings in office space costs.
Out of sight isn't out of mind though, as employers have the same responsibility for the health and wellbeing of a home-based employee as they do for someone in the office.
Here are some ways a home worker can be supported:
Lone working policy
An employee working from home is a lone worker.
Because they're carrying our their work away from other people and are unsupervised, their employer should be checking to make sure they're working as safely as they would in a traditional workplace. Every home working employee should be given a copy of they company's lone working policy.
People need to work safely and ergonomically, with enough space to sit comfortably, any cables around their desks tied up, and their chair should be designed for office work.
The workstation should be positioned so eyes are level with the top of the screen, feet flat on the floor and the lower back supported, and keyboard and mouse at elbow height and within easy reach.
If ergonomic accessories such as wrist supports, foot rest or mouse mat are needed, these should be provided. People should be able to reach items without twisting or straining.
The space people work in should be warm and well-ventilated, with good lighting. If they need extra lighting such as a desk lamp this could be provided.
Smoke detectors should be working and checked regularly, and waste such as paper regularly disposed of. If any electrical equipment or wires are showing signs of age or sparking these need to be removed from use.
All employees, home or office based, need to take regular breaks from their work and give their eyes a rest from looking at a screen.
People working at home need to take breaks just like they would in the office, and even do some back stretches from time to time if they work at a computer for most of the day.
Care needs to be taken if the employee needs to access heavy items, such as full folders, books or boxes or paperwork. It's important to know how to pick up and carry heavy items correctly, and that these are kept on low shelves to avoid the risk of back strain or accidents.
Any carpets or mats should be secure, and if hot drinks and food are carried up or downstairs, stairways and corridors should be free of trip hazards.
For more information
For more details of equipping home workers with everything they need to perform safely and productively please contact Banner on 0843 538 3311