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Remote Work: Things to Consider as an Employer

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Many of us have been home-bound due to quarantine restrictions, social distancing protocols and isolations. Besides having initiating a work-from-home policy, has your business considered the following added measures to better support employee productivity?

Work from Home Agreement:

Putting into place an actual contractual agreement which details the roles and responsibilities for employers and employees can be useful in clarifying any work obligations while employees work from home. Consider clarifying if your company will provide funding for any expenses in relation to purchasing office supplies or towards Wi-Fi usage to support remote working conditions. Specify if employees are allowed to borrow workplace equipment (monitors, keyboard, tools etc.) to help set up their own remote stations. Include a section to re-iterate the company policy on breaches of confidentiality, measures to print or discard company information to strengthen privacy and data governance.

Risk and Hazard Assessments:

Toxic environments and workplace hazards can still follow your employees into their homes. It is important that employers train their associates on how to evaluate the risks and hazards apparent in their homes (both physical and psychological) and maintain records of them. Employees should be able to identify hazards in relation to ergonomics, workplace violence, bullying & harassment (even if taking place virtually), and any unsafe working conditions placing an employee at risk. Communicate health and safety guidelines for such working conditions and what commitment or effort the employer will make in order to mitigate any accidents or incidents from occurring. Provide access to, and advocate for, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) built to support the psychological well-being and counselling of employees.

Reporting Guidelines:

In the event that an accident or injury does take place in the remote work place, is your employee informed on the next steps and reporting guidelines? Note that the liability to report injuries to the Worker’s Compensation Board does not end during the remote-work arrangement. However, it is important that each employer clarify for all employees that they will not be responsible for any non work-related injuries that may take place. It would be advisable that employers communicate and share materials, articles, and videos in relation to how to preventing workplace injuries (i.e. strains) as a part of this agreement.

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