Protect Your Homeworkers
Personal safety solutions for homeworkers.
At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of employees across the UK became homeworkers overnight.
Even though most restrictions have now been lifted, research suggests that this is a trend that’s set to continue with workers looking for a more flexible balance of home and office-based work.
In fact, a January 2021 study by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) stated that under 3% of UK employees worked exclusively at home prior to the COVID pandemic. But this had increased by a factor of ten by April 2020.
Moreover, BBC report in May 2021 found that almost all of the 50 biggest employers in the UK do not plan to bring employees back to the office on a full-time basis.
With such a significant increase in the number of homeworkers in the UK, it’s important for businesses, and public and third sector organisations, to carefully consider the health and safety implications: who is responsible for the health and safety of home workers, what are the common risks associated with working at home, and how can homeworkers be kept safe from harm?
Who is responsible for health and safety when working from home?
Employers in the UK have a legal responsibility for the health and safety of their homeworkers. They should carry out thorough risk assessments before any home working is undertaken.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises that any organisation that employs homeworkers should consider:
- How to keep in touch with the homeworker
- What work activity is being carried out, and for how long
- Whether the work can be done safely
- Whether control measures are required to protect the homeworker from risk.
Employers should also ensure that their homeworking policy and lone working policy are up to date.
Take a look at our example lone worker policy and read our article: Working from Home Policy: Health and safety checklist.
What are the risks for homeworking?
There are some common risks associated with homeworking:
- Physical injury
It’s important to remember that homeworkers are lone workers. Lone workers are at increased risk because there’s no one available to help them should an incident occur. This could be an accident, an attack, a threatening phone call or email, an emergency health issue, or a fire, to name just a few.
Homeworkers, particularly those who live alone, can be at an increased risk of isolation because they can feel more disconnected from their colleagues. This can have a detrimental effect on their wellbeing and can often be exacerbated by a failure to take proper breaks throughout the day.
- Data security
Homeworkers having access to an organisation’s systems and data is an obvious security risk. This is much easier to manage when your workers, and their devices and paperwork, are all based on-site.
Worries about reduced productivity have been a common homeworking risk cited by many in the past. However, the 2021 IES study reported that nine out of ten homeworkers get at least as much done as they would in an office environment, if not more, across a typical working day.
How can you protect your homeworkers from risk?
A SoloProtect personal safety solution can help an employer to ensure the personal safety of homeworkers.
It ensures there is always someone on hand to provide support if an incident occurs – offering peace of mind to the homeworker that they are not alone.
The homeworker can request 24/7 emergency help at the click of a button. Our Monitoring Centre Operators will listen in to establish the severity of the situation. They will then either alert the worker’s escalation contacts (i.e. a manager or colleague) or notify the emergency services.
From an organisational perspective, a SoloProtect personal safety solution provides vital reassurance to the employer that their home-based staff will be in safe hands should the worst occur and is a clear demonstration of health and safety compliance. It can also help managers to understand a user's working status and their remote location (if enabled with your solution).
Protect your homeworkers with our personal safety app
Our new personal safety application for mobile users is a popular safety solution for organisations with homeworkers. The app has all the functionality of our lone worker devices and can be installed on Android and Apple phones. It’s ideal for organisations looking for some additional health and safety protection for their remote or home workers, without having to issue a physical device to users. For this reason, the mobile app is extremely quick and easy to implement.
Ensure the health and safety of your homeworkers with a lone working device
If you’d prefer to equip your homeworkers with a dedicated personal safety device, you can choose from:
- SoloProtect Curve: Sleek and modern. Perfect for home or remote workers who need a safety device inside and outside of working hours.
- SoloProtect Shield: Water and dustproof. This design works well for those active home or remote workers who spend time outdoors.
If you’re unsure whether a lone working device or personal safety app is the right choice for protecting your homeworkers, take a look at our helpful article which explains some important considerations:
Lone Worker Device or App?
Find out more about how to keep homeworkers safe
Health and Safety for Homeworkers
Consider how a health and safety manager's responsibilities may have changed following the move to a less traditional workplace.
Download helpful advice from our Knowledge Base.
Business Case Support
Read more about the benefits of investing in a personal safety or lone working solution in our Business Case Support document.