Since COVID-19 and the rise in popularity of remote working, many companies have embraced hybrid arrangements. This mode of working gives employees greater flexibility with their in-person and remote work, however following the pandemic learnings about home working risks have been made.
If you have some employees with hybrid contracts at your company, it’s important to manage the safety risks that come with this new way of working.
Every business needs to support their employees to maintain their health and wellbeing at work. In fact, it’s a legal obligation. Whether they work remotely full time, with a hybrid timetable, or in-person at an office, employees are due the same mental and physical health considerations.
So, what are the specific risks for hybrid workers and how can you minimise these issues?
Your hybrid employees don’t work in the office for all of their contracted hours, but they aren’t completely remote either. They might do their weeks “half and half”. Or perhaps they work at home just one day a week or spend a couple of days in the office for certain meetings or events.
While this can be a great working arrangement for many employees and employers, it sometimes leads to hybrid workers falling under the radar when it comes to wellbeing.
You probably have arrangements for ensuring that your in-person employees are happy and healthy at work. For example, they are always present for a one-on-one chat (a good way to check on their mental wellbeing). They can also use your specialist office equipment on a daily basis (a great way to support safe working).This makes it easy to act on your duty of care.
For remote workers, you’re also likely to have some arrangements in place. Perhaps you’ve arranged online DSE assessments and scheduled Zoom or Google Meet catch-up calls.
With hybrid workers not falling into either the “in-office” or “remote” categories, they might miss out on crucial areas of support. For instance, you might think that, just because they’ve had an in-person DSE assessment, they’re sorted. This isn’t the case – they need a homeworking workstation assessment, too!
So, how can you make working life better for your hybrid workers? Let’s take a look at a few ways you can be a more supportive employer.
As we have just addressed, it is easy for the wellbeing of hybrid workers to slip through the cracks because of their in-between status as both remote and in-office workers.
A great way to ensure you are supporting your hybrid workers is to assess their working conditions and needs specifically as hybrid workers. This should include:
It’s important to ensure your hybrid employees have the same access to quality workstation equipment as those who work in the office. Even if your hybrid employees only work one day a week at home, they should still be using an ergonomic chair, have a properly configured desk and monitor, and should have a set-up that is electrically sound.
Providing your employees with high-quality work equipment is crucial for preventing back, neck, and eye strain and pain. Plus, as their employer, it’s your responsibility to comply with Health and Safety DSE laws.
Want to learn more? Read up on the DSE risks associated with working at home.
An excellent way to ensure your hybrid workers are using display screen equipment safely both at home and in the office is to arrange a DSE assessment. A professional will be able to evaluate their working conditions and make recommendations to improve their set-up.
As mentioned before, any workstation an employee uses needs a DSE assessment. So if they work in the office and at home, both need to be optimised.
Take a look at how you are supporting the mental health of your hybrid workers in comparison to your other employees. While it’s great to organise in-person check-ins, team building days, social events, and more, your hybrid workers could be left out.
One of the best ways to effectively support your hybrid workers is to listen to their feedback and make improvements accordingly. Have a system in place for your employees to voice their ideas, opinions, and concerns. Why guess what your employees need when you could ask them?
As the UK’s number one DSE assessment provider, we have an excellent track record of improving the lives of DSE workers and the employers that support them.
We offer a wide range of workstation assessments – from online DSE self-assessments to ergonomic assessment and pregnant worker assessment options. To learn more, please feel free to get in touch with our friendly team today.