More and more organisations are embracing flexible working but there are some specific health and safety issues that need to be considered should you choose to offer your employees flexible working. Most of us will agree that technology has improved the way that we wok and this also has an impact on the ability of a workplace to allow flexible working hours. With technology, we can turn work around quicker as well as update and amend documents to allow for more flexibility within the workplace. However, agile working can affect health and safety but why exactly is this?
Health & Safety for Agile Workers
When it comes working flexibly, there are some downsides that must be considered and employers should certainly not overlook the situations that can arise when one is allowed to work wherever and whenever. Essentially, agile workers can sometimes be prone to “switching off” and this is especially relevant when the line between home and work becomes blurred. Of course, health & safety legislation applies to flexible employees as well.
As an employer, you have a responsibility to take adequate care of your employee’s mental and physical health. The steps that you would take within the workplace to adhere to this should also be taken at home. Of course, this can simply be a case of assessing an employee’s home workplace to ensure that it is suitable for permanent working should this be required by some of your workforce. However, it is not just technology that has facilitated an agile working approach.
Not Just Office Work
Agile workers aren’t just those that work in an office. There are some manual jobs with tasks that can be completed in a flexible way. The risks that these employees could face would and should be taken into account and then addressed in a meaningful way. This can simply involve providing PPE (personal protective equipment) for the alternative workplace while also reminding employees that they are responsible for this equipment.
Another key factor to consider for flexible working would be the lines of communication that are open between employer and employee and these should always be maintained as a matter of priority. You may not encounter these workers in the workplace as much but contact for regular updates is important. Catch-up meetings are useful for looking out for the signs of burnout and you can also cover health and safety updates during these meetings as well.
Plenty of Benefits for Flexible Workers
Overall, flexible working can bring a lot of benefits to the business but you should not overlook the risks. Health and safety policies are just as important for agile workers and this also includes physical and mental health too. Once this has been considered, you will be ready to implement flexible working within your own business or workplace.