With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has moved to a reality where many people are working from home. Kitchen benchtops and dining room tables have now become workspaces. For a lot of people, getting the correct home office setup can be a challenge.
When staff are working from home, employers are still responsible for WHS practices and maintaining the health and safety of their people – including ergonomics. However, many organisations can find themselves unprepared to ensure that they protect their staff from injury and strain whilst working from home.
A recent case in point is TAD, a not-for-profit that changes the lives of people living with a disability by providing personalised technology, equipment and services.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, TAD only had very few staff working from home and only occasionally. As a result, with the onset of the restrictions, their first priority was get their technology sorted out to enable people to work remotely.
As they started having meetings via video conference, it became clear that some people were inappropriately setup for work. They noticed staff sitting at their laptops on their beds, dining room tables and other unsuitable workspaces.
They realised that they faced two issues:
- They needed to educate their staff how to correctly setup their workspaces to avoid potential injuries
- That the senior management and directors of the organisation had a responsibility to maintain the health and safety of their staff or face a potential personal liability if something happened to any of their employees whilst working from home.
So, they started looking for a service that was simple and cost effective to help them educate their staff and ensure they were doing the right thing from an WHS perspective. They started searching online and came across Work Options’ virtual training solution and felt that it was exactly what they needed, as it provided a guide to help staff correctly set up their work stations, a simple, yet comprehensive checklist for the workstation, and a second checklist for general safety in the home.
As a result, they were able to very quickly get all their staff to check their existing setup and complete the checklists. Subsequently, they are now able to see during their video calls a great improvement in their people’s setup.
“As CEO, I’ve been able to assure my Board that we have the working from home WHS aspect covered and that we are looking after the health and wellbeing of our people.” Dr Anthony Lowe, Chief Executive Officer, TAD
The outtake here is that every organisation should ensure that they educate their staff about correct ergonomic setup both at work and when working from home. Properly educated and set up employees is a positive outcome for both the staff member and the organisation’s management. As an employer, you are protected against the risk of an employee having an injury and the employee feels that their health and safety of being looked after.