You can mitigate risks by providing employees with the appropriate training and equipment for their work. You should also ensure employees are aware of your Health and safety policy and the procedures that it outlines.
It’s also important to review your employers’ liability insurance policy to ensure that any accidents or injuries suffered by your employees while working from home are covered.
Display screen equipment (DSE)
You may have employees who are display screen equipment (DSE) users, ie they regularly use DSE (eg PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones) for continuous periods of 1 hour or more. If so, it’s good practice to provide them with guidance on the best DSE practices and on the best way to set up their workstations. You should also encourage your employees to take breaks between long spells of screen time and to get up to do some stretching exercises. This can help to mitigate risks related to physical pain caused by DSE use (eg back and neck pain) and eyesight. For more information on employers’ obligations related to DSE, read Health and safety when working with display screen equipment (DSE).
You should have procedures in place to keep in touch with your employees. When doing so you should, when appropriate, discuss ways to manage occupational stress. You can provide support and guidance and ensure that employees have an opportunity to voice their concerns. For example, you could hold regular meetings via phone call or video conference.
Other ways to reduce employees’ occupational stress include:
offering flexible working hours to accommodate for personal tasks, for example caring for children and/or unwell family members
adjusting performance targets to reflect their situation
encouraging employees to establish a routine and a regular work structure