Trending Topic: Working From Home
With longer commutes, improved technology and flexible work schedules, more businesses are allowing employees to work from home or telecommute.
The numbers of telecommuters are increasing. Are businesses managing the risks involved in employing a telecommuting workforce?
Risk Management Guidance From Ironwood:
WHAT DOES THIS TELECOMMUTING TREND MEAN IN TERMS OF EMPLOYER LIABILITY?
Even if an employer does not have a formal telecommuting program, many employees are working from home on a regular basis. Ironwood recommends that you develop a formal telecommuting policy, document it and communicate it with your employees. This document should clearly emphasize the distinction between utilizing resources and exploiting them.
If you have not yet embraced the trend, consider just a few of the many pros and cons of “working from home” (many of which will vary with your industry and office location) and have a conversation with your executive team.
Pros: Flexibility, Work/Life Balance, Improved Morale
Cons: Lack of Interaction with Employees/Loss of Culture, Data Security Risks
Things to Consider When Designing Your Telecommuting Policy:
- Make sure your policy is written, outlines the parameters of your program and is communicated
- We recommend that telecommuting be limited to those associates with a proven performance history and require minimal supervision
- Create a method to set and monitor the employee’s work hours.
- Telecommuters should establish a designated “work space” in their home. You, as the employer, should specify what type of equipment they will need and the set up of this equipment.
- All work assignments should be made by fax or email.
Should you face a claim from a telecommuter, injury investigation can present a challenge, so be prepared. Several factors need to be considered when investigating the injury including, but not limited to:
- What are the employer’s policies for keeping a home workplace safe?
- Is there a clearly written telecommuting policy, including reporting injuries?
- Did the time and accident location happen within the home and in a place that was designated as a work area?
- Did the injury occur during the established working hours?
- What was the employee doing when the injury occurred? Was the employee performing work-related tasks, taking care of personal business or taking a break?
- Have the employee photograph the area with their smartphone where the injury occurred or if the injury was caused by a piece of equipment, have the employee take a photo of that equipment.
With a little planning and coordination, telecommuting can be a true boost to your associates’ production and the company’s profitability. For more information on telecommuting and implementation of a program within your organization, contact Ironwood Insurance Services.