Remote Work Risk Assessment – Avoiding Pitfalls

Despite the best efforts of inner-city real estate managers, public transport operators and optimistic business leaders, remote working, to some degree, is here to stay. As a key battleground in the recent war for talent, since the pandemic, flexible working arrangements have retained their popularity. For instance, 72% of workers would rather find a new job than go back to the office full time.

Same is true of non-permanent workforces. We’ve seen a 77% increase in contractors working from home.

CXC recently undertook a survey across our contingent workforce, asking our contractors about their remote working habits and preferences. This information is going to be used for our upcoming Salary Benchmarking report, but we’ve provided a sneak preview of some of the most interesting stats below:

Regarding their preferred level of remote working…

The biggest reason for contractors wanting to work from home included…

In this article, we provide some guidance on how to how to set up remote work for your employees, how to structure a remote work risk assessment, and the importance of mental wellbeing for remote workers.

How to set up a remote working program

Remote working is defined as any work completed away from an employer’s place of business. This not only refers to ‘working from home’ arrangements, but also those instances where an employee may be based onsite at the premises of the company’s clients.

We’ve provided some best practice tips below:

  • When an employee wants to start a remote working arrangement, they’ll need to consult their manage to determine whether it’s feasible. Considerations include work responsibilities and tasks to be undertaken, tools required, appropriateness of work location and deliverables.
  • Make sure you document everything. The arrangement needs to be documented by the manager or the HR representative before you commit to anything. This documentation might even include a probationary period to ensure the arrangement is successful.
  • Employees who want to work remotely need to fill out a self-assessment questionnaire, to ensure their workplace is safe.
  • Periodically, you should audit the employee’s place of work, or get them to update their self-assessment questionnaire. Ideally, the checklist should be resubmitted every 12 months.
  • The employee should have a responsibility for letting the employer know their whereabouts.

What does a remote working self-assessment checklist look like?

All workers should fill out a remote working checklist before they start. This should be reviewed by their manager to determine whether their workplace is safe, or if they require any additional equipment or furniture.

Below, we’ve provided an example self-assessment checklist, which you can amend to suit your needs.

Seats

  • Can you adjust the chair’s height and angle?
  • Can the seat be adjusted so it supports the lower back?
  • Are the worker’s arms parallel to the floor, or slightly angled down?
  • Are the worker’s feet on the ground? If not, is there a footrest?
  • Is the worker’s back in an upright position?

Desk

  • Does the desk have enough space to complete a number of tasks?
  • Is the desk between 600 and 750mm high?
  • Can the employee easily adjust the height of the desk?
  • Does the desk ensure the worker isn’t frequently twisting or rotating?
  • Is the worker able to sit close to their desk without anything in the way?
  • If the worker needs to look at documents, are they positioned in a way that avoids unnecessary neck movements?

Monitors

  • Is the monitor at arms-length away?
  • Is the monitor at a height where the employee’s neck is at a neutral position?
  • If they’re using a laptop, is it raised or on a dock?
  • Is the screen free from glare?

Keyboard and mouse

  • Are the worker’s elbows close to the side of their body?
  • Is their mouse at the same level as their keyboard?
  • If using a laptop, do they have a separate keyboard and mouse?

Environment

  • Is there enough lighting to prevent eye strain?
  • Are noise levels low to prevent distraction?
  • Is there enough ventilation?

Employee wellbeing

Finally, employers have a responsibility to safeguard their workers’ mental wellbeing, regardless of whether they are in the office or not. According to a recent PwC survey, 22% of workers wanted increased wellbeing initiatives.

One relatively straightforward way of meeting your obligations in this area is providing an employee assistance program (EAP). To help contractors access support when they need it, CXC provides an EAP  through Benestar. This service provides our contractors (and their families) with complimentary counselling services. The service is easy to navigate, and contractors can search for content by topic or type (e.g., video, article or activity).

Contractors can access a variety of content like learning modules, videos and animations, articles, blogs, podcasts, meditations, self-assessments, activities and resources toolkits. Additionally, contractors have access to personal and confidential support from trained support professionals – over the phone, face-to-face or online.

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