The future of office working; occupational health aspects.
Before the pandemic only around 5% of workers used their home as a workplace, usually occasionally. Now the picture has changed and many more workers are interested in becoming, or remaining, able to work from home. The term ‘hybrid working’ is used to describe a variety of arrangements that have come into being.
There are many issues, including legal, and a reference is given below which may be of help, however there are particular occupational health issues that need to be taken into account.
If an employee is regularly working from home then the employer has a duty of care to ensure that the conditions of work are satisfactory. The home work station must be assessed and there is a self-completion DSE questionnaire that employees should complete. It is the employers responsibility to act on any findings.
Most hybrid workers will therefore require two DSE assessments; one for home and one for the office.
Monitoring working hours.
There is a known tendency for hybrid workers to put in excessive hours, which may only come to light when stress symptoms are reported or an absence occurs. Return to work advice may include phased working and this will require documented monitoring in order to demonstrate that suitable duty of care has been exercised.
After two years of being told of the hazards of attending the workplace and mixing with others, many employees have been taken aback by the sudden removal of all restrictions and formal guidance. There may be individual personal or family worries about infection and disease and these may play a significant role with employee’s engagement with any form of attendance to an office. These worries may need independent and expert advice to resolve.
Workplace Wellness is the trading name of Bradford on Avon Occupational Health Services Ltd.
Registered in England: 9749251
VAT no. 27144823278
Registered Office: 29 Bridge Street Bradford on Avon Wiltshire BA15 1BY
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