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Home workers and homeworking (HSE guidance)

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Official guidance from the Health and Safety Executive for home workers, home working, remote working and flexible working arrangements

When someone is working from home, permanently or temporarily, as an employer you should consider:

  • Principles and policy

    • Employers and employees should be practical, flexible and sensitive to each other's situation when working from home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
    • Employers should:
      • talk to their employees and workers about how they might improve working from home arrangements
      • continue to consider which roles and tasks can be done from home - this might involve doing things differently and not assuming a role cannot be based at home
      • support employees to adjust to remote working
      • consider individual employees' needs, for example anyone with childcare responsibilities, a long-term health condition or a disability
      • write down the arrangements that have been agreed so everyone's clear
  • Lone working without supervision

    • There will always be greater risks for lone workers with no direct supervision or anyone to help them if things go wrong.
    • Keep in touch with lone workers, including those working from home, and ensure regular contact to make sure they are healthy and safe.
    • If contact is poor, workers may feel disconnected, isolated or abandoned. This can affect stress levels and mental health.
    • Find out more on lone working
  • Working with display screen equipment

    • For those people who are working at home on a long-term basis, the risks associated with using display screen equipment (DSE) must be controlled. This includes doing home workstation assessments.
    • However, there is no increased risk from DSE work for those working at home temporarily during the COVID-19 restrictions. So in that situation employers do not need to do home workstation assessments.
    • You could provide workers with advice on completing their own basic assessment at home. This practical workstation checklist (PDF) may help them.
    • There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risks from display screen work:
      • breaking up long spells of DSE work with rest breaks (at least 5 minutes every hour) or changes in activity
      • avoiding awkward, static postures by regularly changing position
      • getting up and moving or doing stretching exercises
      • avoiding eye fatigue by changing focus or blinking from time to time
  • Specialised DSE equipment needs

    • Employers should try to meet those needs where possible.
    • For some equipment (eg keyboards, mouse, riser) this could mean allowing workers to take this equipment home.
    • For other larger items (eg ergonomic chairs, height-adjustable desks) encourage workers to try other ways of creating a comfortable working environment (eg supporting cushions).
    • Our brief guide has more information.
  • Stress and mental health

  • Keep in touch

    • Put procedures in place so you can keep in direct contact with home workers so you can recognise signs of stress as early as possible.
    • It is also important to have an emergency point of contact and to share this so people know how to get help if they need it.

Downloads

CIPD HR guidance home working CIPD managing remote teams top tips CIPD working remotely top tips

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