Our world is a little different to normal. Terms such as ‘iso’ and ‘social distancing’ are recognisable. Googling whether it is OK to have 2 unrelated people in the same vehicle seems rational. And spending weeks on end working from the kitchen table, connecting to colleagues via cameras and microphones, ensuring that partners and kids – likely sharing the same space - are ‘shushed’ during business meetings is for many of us business-as-usual.
As restrictions placed on our communities are lifted, some people will go back to the way their world use to be. But many of us will launch home based businesses, work from home telecommuting, or at least be less rigid in needing to be in an office or workplace from 9am to 5pm
As a business owner you have a duty of care for your employees – whether they are working from their home or yours. As an employee you have the right to identify systems, processes, equipment and supplies that you may need to be both comfortable and secure in your ‘new’ home-based workplace.
Neighbourhood Watch Victoria has produced a handy check list that you and your employees can complete to highlight if there is any action required with regard to making the home workplace safe and secure.
Some of the questions address the physical set up of the workspace, some address issues of safety – for example having clear walkways without tripping hazards if someone needs to quickly exit the home, or having the appropriate power outlets for equipment. Some address issues of security – such as having entry ways locked when staff are on site – not leaving doors unsecured so that someone can enter the property to commit a burglary.
One of the best tips we can provide is to encourage you to reach out to neighbours – to set up an informal business network in your street. We know that when we know our neighbours we are safer and we feel safer. During these challenging times it is comforting to know that people nearby are going through exactly what you are – and that even if we need to be at arms length we can offer a helpful hand.