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Dangers to employees working from home

More employees work remotely from home than ever before. We have discussed the challenges of keeping distance workers engaged, but have you considered the unique dangers of employees working from home? They may not be as obvious, but there are several potential dangers and risks that remote workers should be aware of when working from home.

Information Security

  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your privacy online. This software was created to encrypt your internet traffic and make you anonymous to hackers by masking your IP address. Instead of hackers seeing your IP address, they see the VPN provider's IP address which prevents them from knowing your location or getting your passwords and other sensitive information. VPNs are especially helpful when working over a Wi-Fi network.
  • If you use video software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or other online meeting software is aware of the associated security risks. Some of the security risks of Microsoft Teams include sensitive data for screen sharing, unmanaged devices, or uploaded files that contain malicious code that could infect your work or personal device. With Zoom, there have been times where meetings have been "bombed" by uninvited participants who crash the meeting with intent to disrupt and fraud. To protect against these threats, make sure that all Zoom meetings you attend require a password to enter the meeting.
  • It is important to keep the work units in a safe place in the home. By securing your dedicated office space from anyone who is not authorized to be there, including children, employees can reduce the likelihood of accidents. If your office has a door, lock it when you are not around. Use a strong password for all work units and make sure your company's phone and computer are logged out at the end of the day. Paper documents must be secured in a locking filing cabinet and anything sensitive that needs to be discarded should be shredded properly.

Information security is a topic that you constantly need to keep track of. There is no magic list of steps that guarantee safety; However, the above information goes a long way in keeping your home office as protected as possible. Discuss your specific needs with an IT professional.

Positive work environment at home

Even if you are away from employees when you work from home, you may feel lonely, there are some things that can help you deal with these feelings.

  • Intermittent breaks result in a higher sustainable work performance by reducing burnout and promoting a feeling of increased energy.
  • Implement a "sit less, move more" attitude where you maintain scheduled stretching and walking breaks throughout the workday. Plan an activity or workout a few times a week; participate in a gym, swim, lift weights, do yoga or other lessons to increase muscle use and aerobic activity. Be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider and choose activities that suit you.

Read these useful tips on the benefits of stretching .

  • Ergonomics is the study of how people interact with artificial objects with the goal of creating an environment that is well suited to a user's physical needs. For example, an ergonomic chair can help support your lower back and prevent you from hitting. In a home office environment, make sure the workplace fits your needs. In addition to a proper chair and adjustment, you want to think about your reach and wrist angle towards the keyboard. Is the height of your computer screen correct? Make sure your head and eyes are at the right angle. Is the height of your desk what it should be? These are things you need to keep in mind when setting up your home office. Proper ergonomics in the office prevent various injuries from carpal tunnel syndrome to lower back injuries.
  • Creating a balance between work and private life is extremely important. This balance means less stress in our lives. Studies have shown that a balanced lifestyle improves mental and physical health, improves relationships and increases creative thinking. All this combines gives a happier life and a sense of fulfillment that makes a person more productive. So when you've done a good day's work, get out of your chair and turn off your computer and phone. Now is the time to relax and enjoy time with family, friends and activities that we all cherish.

Home infrastructure and natural disasters

With so many employees working from different locations, it is also important to think about plans for business continuity in the event of disruptions. This can be caused by a variety of problems, including power outages, tornadoes, chemical emissions, earthquakes or other disasters.

Preparation is the key. There are four steps a company can take to prepare a disaster response plan.

Step 1

: Analysis

Step 2: Design

Step 3: Implementation

Step 4: Validation

Obviously, the business must identify the impact different disasters will have on providing services to customers and employees . Then develop a written recovery plan that provides steps that show the fastest and most effective way to get your business back on track. Once these steps have been identified, the plan must be communicated and tested to see if it works and to ensure that employees understand what to do in the event of a disaster or disruption. This should include protocols for situations such as a home accident or natural disaster that may disrupt the ability of remote employees to be productive.

Read our series on Disaster Recovery and Planning .

Promoting safety culture at home

Being safe and efficient when working from home can be challenging from a number of perspectives. Remember to protect your private job information for the benefit of your employer. Set up an ergonomic workstation that gives you the right posture and keeps you healthy. Take breaks all day and use this time to stretch and walk, which will help you keep your muscles strong and your mind clear. Pay attention to and read your employer's continued business plan so that you can be prepared for the unexpected.

Finally, as an employer, provide good communication early and often, which reinforces that you care about everyone's well – being. Be sure to provide timely resources to help your employees improve their safety culture while working remotely at home.

Interested in learning more about employee well-being and team building? Read more from our blog or contact a Society agent near you for specific questions about your business insurance coverage .

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