When working from home it is important to maintain safety; when we come home from work we often forget about some of the safety processes we had to follow at work, believing our home is a safer environment – most of the time it isn’t, especially with lapses in concentration.
With the current Covid-19 pandemic more and more people are working from home, which is unprecedented for the way UK business usually works, and we are not set up for it. You’ll have noticed internet speeds are now a lot slower; that’s because a lot more people are using the internet system than it is used to.
Your bosses expect you to work to the same conditions, start and finish times, break times etc that you do in the office but home-working just doesn’t work in that way. In the office you talk to colleagues over your monitor screens, have coffee breaks and generally avoid a lot of work doing other things; most people working in an office do around 4 hours of work a day rather than the 8 they are paid for! But when you work from home, you don’t have the distractions of co-workers so you work harder, smarter and longer. A quick trip to the kitchen for a fresh coffee takes less time, and assuming you don’t have the kids to distract you you’re going to get more work done undisturbed. In fact, being an experienced home-worker I know how many times I have worked through lunch too.
Add to that that you are paying for the electricity, heating, water and internet, unsubsidised by your bosses they need to not expect you to work the full 8 hours… unless they are going to pay you more for that. They’re also saving on the costs of housing you in their office as they did when you were at work.
Companies are realising that their staff working from home are more productive, and set up costs are lower because they don’t have to pay for the desks, lamps, floors and walls.
But where they must not scrimp on, and where many are not living up to their obligations is health and safety. Health and Safety at work applies whether you are in the office or at home; wherever you are working. So these obligations still need meeting. That includes making sure that electrical equipment is safe.
You will also find brining your office home makes for a very different working environment. Some people are setting up shop on their dining room table or trying to find desk space in their garage or shed. If you’re like me then you’re lucky enough to already have an office set up at home, but perhaps you now have to share it.
You’ll find with the increase in electrical equipment in your home you’re forced to add more extension leads, and you’re fighting for sockets which leads to a risk of overloading, which in turn is risking overheating, and fires, which none of us want.
I am seeing pictures on my friends social media channels of their overloaded sockets, as they try to find enough space to plug in their work computer, as well as their TV and games console.
Just because we now work from home, we can’t forget about workplace safety – we are working from home… we are at work, so we are required to comply with the same legal requirements, such as the Electricity at Work Regulations.
We have put together these working from home safety tips to try to help you help your staff work safely, at home.