Remote work, flexible schedules, and hybrid models have become industry standards overnight, and certain aspects of companies’ business models have been challenged with keeping up.
In particular, the dichotomy of work and life for most remote employees is becoming difficult to distinguish. Without the accommodations of a regular on-site office, workers have spent the past two years redefining and reconstructing the “office.”
Now, as more than 50 percent of employees work remotely, and many are suffering from new physical and mental health issues due to a sedentary or unaccommodated work lifestyle, both employees and employers are trying to identify the necessities of a healthy, functional home office. As numerous countries take steps to define the working conditions and legal requirements surrounding remote work, people are also beginning to ask themselves – what ergonomic responsibilities do employers owe to their workforce regarding home offices?
While remote work has been found to improve employees’ happiness by up to 20 percent, employees are looking for opportunities with an improved employee experience, positive company culture, and flexible work. Ensuring remote employees have a comfortable, healthy environment to work in will be key for candidate attraction, retention, and organizational success.
Cut Costs Impacting Employee Well-being
Remote and hybrid work have facilitated numerous financial benefits for employers: office fees on utilities and physical resources, costs for commuting, and on-site operational and employee-related costs have all decreased significantly. Employees have also experienced financial benefits: decreased commuter costs have come as an immediate benefit alongside lowered daily meal costs.
However, as these costs for employers have dropped, new office costs have come into play. Now that employees play a larger role in the creation of their own office, there are differing definitions of ‘home office,’ ‘workplace necessities,’ and ‘healthy work environment’ from company to company. While many employees were quick to respond by stocking and supplying their homes, employers were slow and measured in their responses, leaving room for future workers’ accommodation challenges.
Additionally, as many employees begin to treat and overcome injuries or physical health issues incurred during the pandemic, many employers could end up facing workers’ compensation claims. Companies are still responsible for the injuries employees incur while working remotely, and employers should get ahead of the curve and respond proactively and quickly. With so many employees looking for companies that place value on their workforce’s well-being, concerns, and values, employers can showcase their company culture by establishing remote work office practices and strategizing to provide employees with necessary accommodations.
The Home Office – New Ergonomic Responsibilities
While many employers have stepped in to keep up with the remote work landscape and accommodate workers’ needs, most employees’ home offices still lack the workplace standards and resources of their previous offices. With the work-life balance fraying for many and mental and physical health being directly impacted, how can employers rise to the challenge? What ergonomic responsibilities do companies owe employees for their home offices?
To ensure that employees’ home offices are up to par, safety-wise and ergonomically speaking, employers should clearly outline and define expectations for home offices, provide employees with home office safety checklists, establish practices for recurring home office quality checks, and build rapport to constantly ensure employees’ ergonomic needs are being met.
On average, companies are saving up to $11,000 per remote employee. To ensure office resources for remote workers remains consistent with on-site office standards, companies could take portions of money saved from lower on-site operational costs and redirect it to remote employees’ home offices. Strategies like this showcase just how much companies value their employees and serve as an effective candidate attraction strategy – both internally (word of mouth) and externally.
A new world of work means a new world of workplace responsibilities – and as the ergonomic needs of employees’ home offices continue to evolve, companies will need to develop adequate strategies to respond meaningfully, effectively, and compassionately. With the right tools, resources, and experienced professionals, companies will be able to set industry standards in this new work landscape, reimagining the work environment of their workforce’s home offices. At AllSTEM Connections, we have an extensive network of resources and professionals that can help make your remote workplace goals a reality. To learn more about partnering with AllSTEM Connections, visit https://www.allstemconnections.com