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By LegalEdge News

5 considerations for equipping remote workers

With increased adoption of remote work over the past two years, many jurisdictions have amended or enacted new employment laws relating to home working. In particular, many have increased workers’ rights concerning home working equipment and how employers should provision and manage this equipment.

Equipment management platform Hofy has provided an overview of the main health and safety considerations when providing remote workers with home office equipment.

Remote workers’ employment rights differ by region. You may be required to provide or reimburse home working equipment for your employees, depending on where they live. 

For example:

Under Chile’s Distance Working and Teleworking Law, employers must:

  • Provide remote workers with the tools, equipment and supplies they need to carry out their work.
  • Pay the operating, running, maintenance and repair costs related to that equipment.

Under Croatia’s Employment Act, remote workers’ employment contracts must state the amount the employer will compensate them for costs associated with remote working (e.g. costs of energy, water, utilities). The Act does not prescribe a minimum amount, or offer guidance on how to determine the appropriate amount, meaning it is at the discretion of the employer/remote employee to agree an amount.

The equipment your remote teams use must meet the minimum requirements prescribed by local H&S guidelines. 

For example, under EU regulations:

  • Office chairs must be height adjustable, and the backrest must be height and tilt adjustable;
  • Workers are entitled to a footrest if they request one;
  • Keyboards must be tiltable.

You have a duty of care to your employees, whether home or office-based, to provide them with a safe working environment and protect them from the risks of musculoskeletal disorders – the second most common cause of short- and long-term employee absences in the UK.

Ergonomic office equipment is designed to prevent musculoskeletal injury. According to Nichola Adams, founder of Inspired Ergonomics, a workplace safety consultancy, you should provide, as a bare minimum:

  • A desk;
  • An ergonomic chair;
  • A laptop stand; 
  • An external keyboard;
  • An external mouse.

For advice on setting up workstations properly, see here

In some countries, such as Mexico, employers are legally required to install equipment for home workers. You must therefore ensure that any furniture you provide to teams in these regions is professionally installed prior to, or upon, delivery. 

Even if you are not under any legal obligation, it is strongly advisable that you do not let employees assemble equipment themselves. If employees injure themselves during, or due to, improperly setting up their workstations, you may be liable.

In the UK, EU and many other regions, employers are required to assess their employees’ workstations for any potential H&S risks. These assessments are called Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessments, and take into account the workstation and working environment (lighting, temperature etc.).

There are plenty of assessments out there; however, the majority were drafted pre-pandemic, when the world was predominantly office-based. Such assessments do not factor in the sort of equipment your teams may be using at home, or environmental factors that differ greatly in homes. 

If you want an accurate picture of how your employees are working from home, seek out an assessment designed specifically for home workers. 

Hofy’s platform enables you to provide equipment to remote workers anywhere in the world in 1 click, while staying H&S compliant. To learn more about Hofy’s services or to book a free demo of their platform, visit Hofy’s website.

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