The spread of COVID-19 has forced most Canadian businesses to implement mandatory work-from-home policies. As much of Canada’s workforce navigates the transition of working in an office to working from home, the ability to work remotely is more important more than ever. For many industry sectors, the phenomenon of employees working from home is a novel, and possibly intimidating reality. However, this new reality is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Thus, remote workers and lone workers’ safety are more important than ever right now.
What Is The “New Normal”
Remote work allows employees to work outside of the usual office environment. The concept of remote work is based on the idea that certain jobs do not necessarily need to be accomplished in a particular place to be successful. Although in the past, remote work could have occurred in coffee shops or on vacation, remote work today occurs in the home as we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. This style of work has many advantages – minimal commute time, the potential for flexible hours, and the autonomy to create your own work environment where you can be most productive.
The Benefits of Remote Work for Employees and Employers
Remote work can be beneficial for employees and employers alike. Staff often report a rejuvenated passion for their jobs that is realized from more autonomy in their work. Reduced or nonexistent commute times have also been found to reduce stress for employees and a more flexible lifestyle allows employees the ability to dedicate time to more things they enjoy.
Employers often realize cost-savings that come from decreased overhead. A company’s bottom line is also supported by more productive and satisfied employees. The flexibility that remote work allows often cultivates more motivated and productive employees. Lastly, remote employees often feel more valued by their company because of the increased level of trust that is associated with allowing staff to work on their own time. This creates more engaged and faithful employees.
With these benefits, the new work-from-home reality welcomed by many Canadians seems quite attractive. As an employer, you must be mindful of the safety of your employees who may now be working alone.
Are Remote Workers Lone Workers?
A lone worker is defined as any worker who is required to work under conditions where they may be alone and immediate help may not be readily available. However, remote workers who are performing their jobs at home and alone are lone workers. For Canadians who are used to working in bustling office spaces, this label is new. As the number of lone workers across the country surges, the safety of Canadian workers is more important than ever right now. Does your company know the whereabouts and activities of all its staff? Learn more about who is considered to be a lone worker.
The Dangers of Working Alone
The most significant threat to lone workers is if an emergency occurs and no one knows about it, then no one will be able to help. This type of situation is more possible than ever, especially with much of Canada’s workforce currently performing their jobs at home and alone. It’s important to be mindful of the fact that even though employees are not traveling into an office, safety hazards can still exist in the home. All employees must take the time to not only identify but also mitigate, the unique new safety risks associated with working at home.
Automated Safety Check-ins During the “New Normal” in Essential Services
Because of the unique hazards associated with contact during COVID 19, a majority of companies who have lone workers in the field are implementing an automated lone worker safety monitoring system for the first time. This automation is an effective way to protect your people – regardless of their location or work activity. With many essential services working in remote locations or alone, the potential for an incident to occur and go undetected is high. A lone worker monitoring system eliminates this risk through a check-in system. Workers can check-in at predetermined times throughout their shift to let their company know that they are safe. If a check-in is missed, then your company will immediately know that something is wrong.
Here’s What You Can Do
Complacency is dangerous. In order to identify safety risks that are present in your workplace, be alert and conduct regular hazard assessments in order to identify all the aspects of your work environment that could compromise your safety. Once you know the dangers, you can take steps to mitigate or eliminate them altogether.
Constant communication is another crucial component of remote work. Communication should not only be work-related but also carried out for the purpose of safety. An effective way of confirming the safety of your remote staff throughout the day is the establishment of a lone worker check-in procedure. At pre-determined times throughout the day, lone workers must check
–in to let their organization know that they are okay. With SafetyLine Lone Worker, this procedure is fail-proof and automated. The advantages to implementing an automated lone worker check-in system are considerable: the avoidance of expensive call centers, automatic prompts for workers to check-in, proactive alerts sent to supervisors if check-ins are missed, real-time GPS locations shared with each check-in, and a comprehensive record of all previous check-ins for each employee of an organization – regardless of the size. Most importantly, check-in systems are an effective way to protect your remote staff – no matter their location.
As we all continue to make the necessary adjustments to work from home, Canadian companies must keep the safety of their employees at the top of their minds. Challenges will arise as the transition from office to home is made. Make sure that the safety of your people is not overlooked.