Working from home usually provides a flexible work balance life when an employee is taking care of school-age children (or younger), caring for a sick relative, disabled, etc. The Fair Work Act 2009 provides employees with the right to request flexible working arrangements. Not only does this benefit the employees and its immediate family, but it can also benefit businesses as well by decreasing employees from being absent, increasing employee retention, achieving higher productivity, employee satisfaction, and much more. Many employees and organization see this arrangement as a Win-Win Situation.
Employers have a duty of care to ensure employees have a healthy and safe work environment whether employees are working at the workplace or from home. In early 2020, many countries around the globe declared a state of emergency as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Employees requested and instructed in many cases to work from home during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. However, not everyone was prepared/met the requirements to work from home due to the sudden notice. Working from home is not merely just ensuring employees have a chair, table or desk, computer, internet access, mobile phone, but the minimum requirements to work from home should include some of the following:
- -Dedicated Office Space
- -The Working areas need to have sufficient lighting (Easy to see and comfortable on the eyes)
- -Correct work surfaces
- -Ventilation and room temperature can be adjusted
- -No excessive noise affecting the work area
- -Walkways are clear of clutter and trip hazards
- -Power outlets are not overloaded with double adapters and power boards
- -Sufficient Fire and Electrical Safety
- -Securing important files
- -Adequate Workstation (Chair, Keyboard, Mouse, Desk, Monitor, etc)
Employers are responsible for injuries caused during the time the employee is working from home. The best way for employers to mitigate risks to their employees and determine on whether an employee is working in a healthy and safe working environment is to get employees to perform inspections periodically of their working environment at their home. The best and easy way to perform the “working from home” environment inspections is to use a paperless inspection form, which can be filled out using the employees mobile phone. The paperless inspection application will allow the employee to attach photos to show evidence that the requirements have been met. Once the paperless inspection has been completed on the mobile device, the information captured will be sent back wirelessly (internet) to the employer (or to the HR, WH&S office) who will determine whether the employee is working in a suitable and safe environment.
If requirements have not been met fully, an automated email can be sent directly to the employee, instructing that they must make adequate changes before continuing to working from home. A detailed report (including photos) of the employees working environment can be generated at any time for all stakeholders.
For more information about paperless inspection forms, visit the Pervidi website on how paperless inspection forms can ensure employees have a safe working environment when working from home or contact us on (03) 8862 6485.