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Home is where the work is: increasing telework calls for WHS compliance at home


So, are you a teleworker?

New info from National Broadband Network says that by 2020, upwards of 12 per cent of the Aussie workforce will telework. If you’ve worked from home before, you surely know that it presents many challenges for the worker.

There are the practical realities of trying to do actual work in a home with cohabitants, sometimes flimsy internet connections, and the sometimes overwhelming urge to just take a nap. Or eat a messy sandwich – that you might choke on. Indeed, working may happen wherever you happen to be, creating health and safety concerns, well, everywhere.

But many employers are unaware of a key fact.

In spite of the increasing demand for teleworking, many companies and businesses are not aware that the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act applies to all types of work and workplaces, including those work performed outside the traditional office.

Transforming the home place into the workspace

According to Tania Evans, General Manager at WorkPro, a web-based employee screening, training and induction solutions platform, “The emergence of mobile and cloud technologies has redefined the traditional office or workplace. This transformation means that businesses need to address a range of regulatory and compliance obligation challenges; not least of all is how to keep workers safe in this new world of working.”

The NBN report also tells us that “getting more Australians working from home will have great benefits for employees and employers alike. International evidence and experience shows that telework can deliver a broad range of benefits to individuals, employers and society as a whole. Telework is a shift in the way we do business that can make a big difference over time.”

Steep consequences for WHS Act non-compliance, ouch!

For those businesses not in compliance with the WHS Act, the penalties can be steep, ranging from $500,000 for a Category 3 offence to $3,000,000 for a Category 1 offence. If you’re an officer of a corporation with teleworkers and that reads like Greek to you, you might want to read up on the matter.

Although teleworking requires the implementation of clear strategies and policies to cater for these emerging working arrangements, teleworking provides many benefits to both employers and employees alike.

Do you need a little help with dodging that bullet?

Evans’ company, WorkPro, has launched the new ‘working alone, isolated work and remote work’ eBook to help organisations meet with WHS Act compliance and keep workers safe from harm. This eBook provides an understanding of what constitutes ‘remote and isolated work’, a legislative overview and how the risk can be managed within your workplace.

Here’s what WorkPro’s newest publication can help you with:

For employers

  • Reductions in operational costs
  • Increased productivity and a driver for innovation
  • Improved recruitment and retention outcomes, particularly when telework is implemented to help overcome skill shortages caused by geographical barriers
  • A reduction in absenteeism associated with short term staff family issues and through improving work/life balance for staff

For employees

  • Increased job satisfaction and improved work life balance
  • Financial savings and a reduction in the stress caused by daily commuting
  • The ability to remain in a regional or rural community rather than relocating in order to find work
  • The potential to keep your job if you move house, further away from your office

You can get the full handy, dandy eBook, right here.