How To Manage the Health and Safety of Your Remote Workers
Policies, support services and trust are just a few ways to support remote workers.
- By Ben Michael
- Feb 06, 2023
As more and more businesses move to remote work, employers must ensure their remote workers remain safe and healthy. This can be a daunting task for any business owner or manager, but with the right strategies in place, you can easily manage your remote staff's health and safety.
In this article, we will discuss key strategies managers should consider when managing the health and safety of their remote employees. We'll look at how to create policies, provide support services, set up effective communication channels, develop trust between team members, and use technology to monitor employee well-being.
By taking all of these steps into consideration when creating a plan to keep your remote workers safe and healthy, you can rest assured knowing that your team is taken care of no matter where they are working.
Establishing Policies and Procedures for Remote Workers
As companies continue to embrace remote work, it's not just crucial that the welfare of employees be taken into account but also that their well-being is managed effectively in this new environment.
A good policy should include clear principles on ergonomics and health, safety guidelines, rules on flexible working hours, returning to the office when possible, mental health support services, and mechanisms to ensure collaboration regardless of geographical distance.
Examples include having designated non-work time so employees have time outside of work to rest and recharge, providing workers with ergonomic furniture and equipment necessary to complete their jobs without risk of injury or pain, setting up secure networks for data exchange between home offices and company systems, implementing flexibility in hours so employees can achieve healthy work-life balance, among other initiatives.
According to Shawn Plummer, CEO of the Annuity Expert, "Creating policies and procedures that reflect the new remote work environment is a key step to ensuring employees are happy, safe, and productive while they are away from the office."
Providing Support Services to Remote Employees
Companies should take a proactive and comprehensive approach to protect the health and safety of their remote employees. This can include providing mental, emotional, and body wellness support services such as educational programs for healthy eating, meditation classes, or access to sleep experts. Implementing processes that involve tracking employee working hours and designating time for restful breaks will help work-life balance.
Mark Pierce, CEO of Cloud Peak Law Group, says, "We have found that providing support services to our remote employees helps them stay focused and productive with their work, while keeping them safe and healthy in the process, especially during times of stress and uncertainty."
Additionally, technology advancements such as ergonomic desks and chairs explicitly designed with flexibility and posture in mind are essential investments companies can make to support their remote workers' well-being. Finally, supporting an employee's health and safety will ensure a more productive workforce where staff feels heard and valued, resulting in higher morale.
Setting Up Effective Communication Channels
Setting up effective communication channels for remote employees to manage their health and safety is necessary for today's business environment. Not only is it essential to keep employees healthy, but it also helps keep the business running efficiently.
Companies should consider providing remote employees with access to regular check-ins and medical advice through virtual consultations and technology like telemedicine platforms. Additionally, these channels can be used to share tools or resources that help promote physical and mental well-being, such as videos that focus on proper posture when working remotely or webinars about workplace stress.
"Once a company has established communication channels and provided the right tools and resources, it is important to ensure that these are regularly monitored," said Carter Seuthe, Author at Credit Summit, "This will help ensure that employees are always up to date on their health and safety status, while also allowing the company to stay informed of potential risks and mitigate them quickly."
Developing Trust Between Team Members
Creating a safe work environment for remote team members can be difficult. It often takes trust between the employer and employee to ensure safety measures are tightened during the pandemic.
Without face-to-face interaction, employers must develop trust with their remote staff to ensure they take health and safety seriously. Companies should build a culture of trust through open communication, where both sides can rely on each other to share accurate information, ask questions and offer suggestions.
Providing resources such as digital advisory tools, virtual check-ins, and access to vital services such as mental health support platforms is a great idea for any business that wants to build trust with its employees.
According to Greg Heilers, Co-Founder of Jolly SEO, "In addition to providing support services and setting up effective communication channels, employers must also focus on developing trust between team members. It is this trust that will help ensure that everyone is taking the necessary precautions to protect their health and safety while working remotely."
Using Technology To Monitor Employee Well-being
With the shift to more remote work, businesses might wonder how they can ensure their employees are safe and healthy. Fortunately, technology is helping create solutions that can help employers stay connected and be aware of their team's psychological well-being.
For example, businesses can use video-conferencing to maintain a visible connection with remote workers, host regular check-ins for updates on employee health, or through AI and automation, employers can monitor computer usage or the noise level within home environments.
So although it may feel like you're losing touch with your remote team members, technology allows businesses to remain connected while maintaining high safety standards.
Assessing Risk for Individual Employees
Planning for risk management means taking a preventative approach and being prepared for potential issues down the line. Businesses can assess risks for individual remote employees by establishing clear policies and social contracts around how the team will work together while in a distributed work environment.
For example, employers can put in regular check-ins on employee well-being, provide access to company resources or mentors if needed, host virtual team events so people can stay connected, and ensure any digital tools used are secure and up-to-date with the latest privacy regulations.
These steps help businesses be proactive rather than reactive in managing risk, which is critical to safeguarding employee well-being while they work remotely.
Putting It All Together—Creating a Plan for Keeping Your Remote Staff Safe and Healthy
So how can you create a plan to help keep your remote staff safe and healthy during the pandemic? The key is having clear protocols in place and using the right technology to ensure all of your employees are taken care of.
Start by establishing trust between team members, setting up systems for monitoring remote employee well-being and assessing risk for individual employees. With these steps in place, your remote team can work safely and efficiently from home—even during the pandemic.