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The importance of working from home risk assessments | Praxis42

Worried about employee mental health as they increasingly work from home? Read our guide for the benefits of working from home risk assessments.

Working from home risk assessments and mental health

25% of employees working from home experience loneliness and isolation while being away from colleagues. The impact of working from home can affect mental health and as an employer, it's worth considering the benefits of working from home risk assessments.

Working from home can bring a number of benefits, both to the employee and the organisation; whether this is financial benefits through the minimised cost of commuting, office space and facilities, or opening up a wider pool of applicants by dismissing geographical issues as a criteria. Research shows that working from home, hybrid or in an agile way has the potential to increase employee motivation, employee satisfaction and reduces stress and sickness levels, allowing productivity to be maintained throughout the organisation.

However, where there are benefits, there are potential risks, and it is important for employers to recognise these and work to understand what can be done to raise awareness and prevent employees from feeling isolated undertaking their work.

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For more understanding on employee mental health, our Mental health and Me training can help employees get to grips with their mental health and how to improve it.

 

Hybrid, Agile and working from home risk assessments

It’s common for employers to feel like they have lost oversight and control of their employees when they undertake hybrid or flexible working, but advances in technology allow a higher level of communication than ever before, and new ways of control to be put in place to monitor results, performance and productivity – it’s not hard to see why hybrid, agile and homeworking is becoming increasingly popular.

Despite this, it’s important to recognise the benefits and risks and by establishing the correct procedures and safe systems of work so you can ensure the prevention of harm and reduce the potential of personal injury claims, as well as having the assurance that risks are managed . Ensuring they’re using safe systems of work and the home workplace is compliant with health and safety regulations, as well as recognising how stress and mental health could be impacted through social isolation and homeworking.

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Technology allows a higher level of communication

Working from home risk assessments cover a range of areas:

  • Working with display screen equipment at home
  • Cyber security
  • Working environment and accidents
  • Stress and mental health

The HSE advises employers to conduct regular risk assessments for all employees, including homeworkers. Working from home risk assessments should include the minimum of:

  • identifying hazards, what could cause injury or illness
  • identify how likely it is for the employee to be at risk
  • taking control or making adjustments to control risk
  • Manager and team communications

Employers must comply with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to protect your employees from harm. Examples of risk assessments and templates can be found on the HSE site and https://www.praxis42.com/elearning/workstation-assessment/

Employee mental health and Isolation Issues

As we delve into stress and mental health issues, one of the major risks facing homeworkers is the feeling of social isolation. While distractions in an office can often impact productivity if they are not managed correctly, it’s often these interactions that give us the motivation to carry on with our work and to create a general feeling of wellbeing.

It is these interactions that are noticeably missing when working from home. Managers and supervisors must establish a routine to communicate with their team, and strengthen the link to the outside world beyond the four walls of the home office which limits the feeling of social isolation that comes through working from home.

shutterstock_2004053444Remote working could leave employees feeling lonely/isolated
 

We are more connected than ever, with video conferencing technology and software allowing organisations to maintain communication in more inclusive and familiar ways with phone and email still also playing a huge part in allowing employees to work in a hybrid or agile way and work from home and to remain a part of the team in the office.

If you are worried about isolation issues affecting employee mental health through homeworking, look at our training course on Homeworker Awareness to understand the importance of reporting issues and hazards at home. Risk assessments are required by law, as an employer.

 

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