February/March 2021  Volume 19, Number 1        

woman working from home

Telecommuting Safely

The pandemic has vastly increased the number of employees working from home. Once public health restrictions are lifted it’s expected that a majority of employees will want to continue telecommuting.

Before the pandemic only about seven percent of U.S. employees worked from home, according to a report by the Pew Research Center. During COVID-19 that number has surged to 64 percent, according to SHRM's COVID-19 Business Index. Recent Gallup research basically backs up that figure, reporting that 62 percent of U.S. employees say they are now working from home.

Although it's likely that a lot of the people working from home now will go back to the office after the pandemic, it's also likely that the number of people who remain working from home will be substantially greater than before the pandemic. A recent Gallup poll found that once public health restrictions are lifted, 59 percent of those now working at home would like to continue to do so.

With so many workers working remotely, it's important to provide guidelines to ensure a safe, secure and injury-free work environment, especially since there can't be a supervisor there to control it.

Here are a few tips for implementing safe telecommuting practices.

  • Create a remote working policy with clear expectations for telecommuters. Review it with telecommuters. Have them acknowledge they’ve read the policy and sign it.
  • Set fixed work hours and meal and rest times. These can be flexible, but they should not be at the expense of delivering quality customer service and working in cooperation with other team members.
  • Clearly define the scope of work. Activities that fall outside the employee's job description are not the employer's responsibility.
  • Establish standards for a home office, such as requiring a designated and dedicated work area.
  • Employees should document that their homeowners or renters insurance is adequate to cover damage to equipment or liability.
  • Provide training on workstation setup and safety measures, including ergonomic best practices.
  • Detail the equipment used by each employee.
  • Make sure computer security issues are addressed. Have your IT department create a set of cybersecurity protocols for employees to follow. Employees who want to use their own computers should be required to have safety protocols installed.
  • Stay in frequent contact with employees.

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In this issue:

This Just In...

Should Employers Make COVID-19 Vaccinations Mandatory?

Workers Comp Payments OK’d for Marijuana in Some States

Telecommuting Safely

Workers’ Comp Basics: Are WC benefits taxable?



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