Time to Work at Home (again) – Do you have a Policy for that?
With rising Covid numbers, many workers who had returned to the office are now turning around to head back to working from home. The November 7th B.C. Provincial Health Order states that employers should “encourage” their workers to work from home, if feasible. The purpose of the Order is to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 in workplaces, but it is important to remember that employers are still responsible for ensuring their employee’s safety while working remotely.
WorkSafe BC Requirements
WorkSafe BC requires all employers to have a working from home health and safety policy in place, and provides guidelines for how to work from home safely. A Work from Home policy should include the following:
- Employees should assess their workspaces and report any potential hazards to their manager
- An evacuation plan for the worker’s home and how to contact them in case of an emergency
- Safe work practices and how to report any work-related injuries
- Communication plans for checking in on workers working alone or in insolation
- Ergonomic considerations
Beyond safety considerations, there are other issues that need to be addressed for remote workers. Will their hours of work be the same or different? What protections are in place for company property and electronic information? What equipment and supplies will be provided by the company? How will employees stay connected with other employees in the workplace?
Does your company have a Work from Home policy? Whether you are an employer or a worker, if working from home is in the mix, you should know the answer to this question. While we all hope the restrictions in the Order will not continue after November 23rd, it is now clear that we need to be ready for ongoing remote work. If your company does not have a policy and safety measures in place for remote work, you can reach out to WorkSafe BC or speak to an HR professional or employment lawyer for help.
This blog is not intended to serve as legal advice, and only provides general information.
Every situation must be considered on its own facts. Need legal advice? Contact us by phone at 604 535-7063 or email [email protected].