Protect your employees when they telework form home (2024)

Safety management

Protect your employees when they telework form home (1)

Léonie Labit

January 18, 2024

Teleworking involves employees performing at least part of their work outside the company’s premises. This form of organization provides flexibility for both employees and employers. It is becoming increasingly popular, especially in jobs in the tertiary sector. Additionally, it offers significant environmental benefits by reducing the need for commuting via individual or collective transportation. However, teleworking should not be organized randomly!

If you also wish to transition to teleworking or offer teleworking to your employees, discover everything you need to know for optimal safety.

Implementing teleworking

Indeed, teleworking should not be organized randomly. Employers remain subject to the same obligations regarding occupational risk prevention for all their employees. In this regard, they must take the necessary measures to ensure the safety, as well as the physical and mental health of their employees. How can this obligation be fulfilled in the context of teleworking?

First of all, teleworking can be defined as a form of work organization. It involves work that could have been performed on the employer’s premises but is instead carried out by an employee outside of these. Teleworking relies on information and communication technologies.

Evaluating and preventing risks for teleworkers

When employers conduct risk assessments in their companies to ensure the health and safety of their employees, they must also consider the risk associated with performing specific tasks through teleworking. This entails ensuring the compliance of the workspace in terms of physical aspects. Furthermore, it is essential to avoid situations of social isolation from a psychological perspective. Finally, teleworking requires planning for the employee’s assistance in case of emergencies.

- Ensuring compliance of the teleworking location

Given the private nature of the employee’s home, it can sometimes be challenging for employers to ensure the implementation of specific safety-related provisions for their workers. This includes, for example, the prohibition of smoking in the workplace or the arrangement of the workspace with suitable equipment. How can be vigilant about the ergonomic layout of this space? What about ventilation, the minimum surface area, or the safety of office furniture? The risks of auditory problems, visual issues, and musculoskeletal disorders are real.

- Combating social isolation

Teleworking comes with occupational risks amplified by distance and isolation. On one hand, it exposes employees to psychosocial risks, which should not be taken lightly. When teleworking, you are not immune to the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life. The associated consequences may include stress due to excessive monitoring or goals, a weakening of interpersonal relationships, ... Additionally, flexible working hours can easily encroach on personal life, and excessive managerial control can become a concern. Clear and shared rules should be established to define a transparent working framework to avoid tension.

Furthermore, to prevent the risk of social isolation, employers must ensure there are regular means of contact with employees and among teleworking employees. They can, for example, organize regular phone meetings and collective videoconferencing sessions.

Managing emergency assistance for teleworking employees

- The various risks

As you might suspect, teleworking rarely aligns with the health and safety standards applied in a traditional workplace. A home office can often be an unsuitable workspace. Furthermore, the safety of electrical installations can pose a significant risk. This leads to hazardous situations similar to those seen in household accidents, such as using an unstable chair to reach for a file on a high shelf. Consequently, the risk of accidents and injuries is exacerbated.

In addition, the isolation of teleworkers increases the frequency and severity of risks inherent to office work. On top of that, there’s the risk of loss of consciousness or assault. Teleworking employees should still have access to the same level of protection from their employer as if they were in a traditional office setting.

- Lone worker mobile app: The latest technologies for teleworking safety

As you may have understood, implementing employee assistance during teleworking is not something to be improvised. It entails establishing a pre-approved emergency procedure. The organization can rely on a simple mobile phone system. Lone worker mobile apps and associated services now offer comprehensive and reliable solutions. They allow employers to coordinate assistance in the event of an employee’s aggression, accident, or health issue while teleworking. The lone worker alarm system enables the person to trigger alerts easily. These alarms are transmitted via the lone worker mobile app to a security PC. The alarm message can contain information about the alert initiator, such as its GPS coordinates. This facilitates the intervention of emergency services.

By way of conclusion, you can find lone worker protection systems on the market that operate without long-term commitments like the one we have developed at NEOVIGIE. These are flexible solutions that enable you to respond quickly and temporarily to exceptional situations such as those imposed by COVID-19.

Protect your employees when they telework form home (2024)
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