Google has said its employees can expect to continue working at home until the end of July 2021. Facebook says it expects 50% (if not more) of its employees to work at home on a long-term basis. Apple plans to hold off returning to its offices until January 2021. Twitter has told its employees they may continue working at home permanently. I work with many companies, and their plans also run the gamut, from September 2020 up until 2021 and/or beyond.
This is all well and good, however for work at home employees this can be a double-edged sword if people do not have the right tools, equipment or training. Elon Musk is not going to ask an employee to build a Model S Long Range Plus with only a screwdriver, is he? I’ve been there. He does not, and they do not. Nor should work at home employees be expected to work without the right tools and planning. What is your company’s plan for work at home ergonomics and employee safety?
One of our neighbors, a talented engineer with a young family, was suddenly thrust into working at home this year for his global employer. He’s a dedicated employee and went right to work from his regular office chair to a hard kitchen chair. But he was soon hospitalized with life-threatening deep vein thrombosis in his legs and other areas of his body from his poor working conditions.
These sorts of things are work-related–and a company’s responsibility to address. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because OSHA and several US states have requirements for safe workplaces, along with dozens of countries around the world. Making sure your work at home employees have the right tools and equipment is serious business.
What is your company’s plan for working at home–or does your company even have one? Here are a few key things to get the discussion started. Then please contact us to schedule a video meeting where we can get into more depth about how we can help your work at home employees succeed.
- Policy and Processes. Do you have anything written down about work at home? If you do not, how can employees be treated equitably? We can help you develop something.
- When was the last time your employees had basic office ergonomics awareness training? How about for working at home? We have training classes available on a learning management system for both “regular” office ergonomics and “work at home” office ergonomics. Or we can schedule live sessions with the opportunity for questions and answers.
- Did you give your work at home employees any knowledge resources to help them out? We have those.
- What is your plan for conducting assessments? There are two major types of assessments: Proactive (before people start having problems) and Reactive (as a result of complaints and workers compensation claims). We provide both types of assessments and our surveys indicate many people are already in serious pain from working at home. Injuries incurred while working at home ARE work-related, and fall under workers compensation laws.
- What is your plan to provide equipment and accessories for work at home employees? Did you provide a stipend? Did you provide any guidance with that stipend? We can help you guide your employees.
- Have you considered overtime for your non-exempt employees? If a non-exempt employee works a traditional 8-hour day in the office, but is now working more than that, a company is obligated to pay them overtime.
Work at home ergonomics is more than sending people home with a laptop and telling them to be productive.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation on how our team of experienced ergonomists, located across the U.S. and in Asia, can help you keep your work at home employees safer–and just as productive and happy as before!