In the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has come together in the most remarkable way - by being apart.
As we deal with an unparalleled national crisis, the most normal things in life that we have long taken for granted - BBQs with friends in the back garden, evenings in the beer garden and family meals surrounded by loved ones - are currently on hold, as we work together towards a post-coronavirus future.
Similarly, for workers from all walks of life, the script has been well and truly ripped up.
For millions of us, home is now the office.
The response from employers and employees alike to transform working practices in an instant in the interests of national safety has been phenomenal.
But the cosmic shift in people’s lives and working habits - implemented without precedent in just days - does bring with it some headaches for company bosses, who remain responsible for their workers’ safety and mental wellbeing from afar.
Remote working is now the new norm, and with the national trend showing a growing army of UK workers were already ‘flexi’ working from home before panic over the pandemic reached fever pitch, it is something that is likely to continue for many people once the crisis is over.
The rise in remote working pre-pandemic has been on such a scale that the Government body responsible for the research and regulation of workplace health and safety recently released new guidance specifically dealing with lone workers.
The new HSE guidance puts particular emphasis on the wellbeing of workers - as well as their physical safety and security - due to the amount of time they spend alone and unsupervised. The guidance highlights the legal responsibility employers have for assessing and controlling the risks in their workers’ workplaces - even if this workplace is now, on the whole, their own front room.
As we navigate through uncharted waters as a country, this guidance comes at a welcome time for companies who had, up until now, not had to consider the implications of keeping lone workers safe and well.
There’s lots to consider when an entire workforce suddenly becomes remote. Workers may feel increasingly detached, whilst employers can feel like they’re losing grip on company output without their usual overview of the centralised business operation. At the same time, key operational staff still in the field whose jobs cannot be conducted from home are now increasingly isolated at work without supervision and interaction with colleagues.
Out of sight should never be out of mind, though, even as we are comprehending the new ‘normal’ - with workers setting up makeshift offices in their spare rooms, and company bosses desperately trying to maintain business operations at a distance to keep their staff in a job.
Judging by the hundreds of social media posts over the past few days, video conference calls previously saved for quarterly round-ups have now become part of the daily diary for many. And as helpful (and often unintentionally hilarious) they can be for virtually beaming a workforce together in one place, there’s no reason why systems cannot be more robust to keep remote workers safe and business moving - even if it was the last thing you had considered only a couple of weeks ago.
Nobody could ever have prepared us for what we’re going through as a country, but providing systems to keep lone workers safe is what we do - and it is something that can be addressed easily and cheaply within minutes.
We’re all in the same boat during these tough times, so to help companies meet their obligations to safety we’ve removed monthly premiums for our Access Range to allow you to implement safety solutions for your newly-remote workers on a rolling basis - which can be removed once they’re back in the office when this crisis is over. And as always, there are no connection fees or other upfront payments.
As well as keeping your workers connected with each other, you can ensure they are keeping safe at home, whilst maintaining a central visibility on workloads and tasks from afar, without having to introduce any secondary processes.
There’s so many unprecedented issues facing businesses at the moment, but ensuring your newly-remote workforce is safe and happy - whilst keeping your operation moving - is one headache you can do without.
Stay safe and well.