Virtual Workplaces

Virtual workplaces are becoming more and more popular across the United States.  However, employers are faced with different problems with these virtual workplaces and safety is at the top of the list.  With all the different workplace options for employees these days, it might seem tough, or even impossible, to create a workplace that encourages or values safety.

Here are three things you need to understand to keep your virtual workplaces safe:

  1.  Identify risks.  Your employees need to be safe.  It doesn’t matter where they are working, whether it be in the office or even commuting on a bus.  Companies may not always realize it is their legal obligation to make sure employees are safe wherever they are working.  All companies must have policies in place to address varying risks, including ergonomics and other work-related injuries.
  2. Develop and implement procedures.  To start combating the risks to your virtual workforce, it is necessary to both identify and understand the risks for these virtual workers.  It is also necessary to understand the risks of those working in the office.  Poor workstation ergonomics, lack of safety training, or improper equipment to finish required tasks are just a few of the issues that both virtual and in-office workers deal with on a daily basis.  But, identifying these risks and issues allows you to step back, look at trends, and develop long-term solutions. When employers understand the issues at hand, they’ll be able to prioritize the fixes quickly.
  3. Nurture a culture of safety.  Policy and training alone are certainly useful methods to protect virtual workers, however, your company must achieve awareness at all levels of the company, including the CEO, to create a culture of safety.  So, how do you do that?  Part of creating this culture is to have an open conversations with your employees and understand their needs and staying on top of the safety concerns that arise.  Showing employees you are aware of the safety issues that are prevalent can create a trust between you and them in the long-term.