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Working from home (WFH) is becoming increasingly common thanks to the pandemic, shifting work styles, and technology. It emerged as a necessity during the global pandemic and forced companies to adapt to a new style of working. Earlier work from home was a luxury afforded to few industries and employees. 

WFH cuts down on costs for the employer and offers flexibility to employees who need it, such as working parents or people who live a long way from work. It ensured that employees can maintain a work-life balance, save time and money on commute, and work the way they prefer. 

What does it mean for employers? As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of your employees, even when they work at home. The same health and safety rules apply, not only to your employee, but to others affected by their working at home.

If an employee asks to work at home, carefully consider their personal circumstances, whether they can carry out their role at home, any working from home health and safety risks, and of course the needs of your business. 

Before they start work at home, carry out a risk assessment of their home office to see if there are any potential hazards or safety risks. Once it meets legal standards, you can allow home working. Arrange a discussion with the employee’s manager each year to confirm the home office still complies and note down any problems and action taken.

You need to assess the home worker’s chair, desk, and keyboard as well as the office space. Employees can use a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) checklist to see whether their workstation is ergonomically sound. An assessor should check for hazards, such as trailing power cords or computer cables.

Keep a comprehensive policy on working from home arrangements. The policy should ask employees to report any health and safety concerns or incidents and allow you to periodically review their home working. Remember, work health and safety law applies at home too.

Employsure can advise you on all aspects of home working. For peace of mind, please call our 24 hour Advice Line now on 1300 651 415.

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