As a follow-up to our Top EHS Trends for 2021 webinar and blog post, RegScan is taking a closer look at some of activities shaping the EHS compliance and sustainability space. This blog post will focus on the top EHS trend of working from home.
After over a full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees and employers are slowly getting back to normal. What that looks like will depend on the company and where their workers are. Despite the promise of vaccines across the US, rollouts across the globe have been slower. Even in the US, many companies will still allow some employees to work from home for the time being.
Working from home has had many benefits for both employees and employers. For instance, it reduces overhead for companies, while allowing workers to have a more flexible work schedule. For employees with young families or who are in high-risk groups, this has been an important benefit. At the same time, working from home has disadvantages as well. It can blur the line of work-life balance, leading people to work more and driving them to burnout. This lowers productivity, as well as negatively affecting the employees’ mental health. Furthermore, the isolation due to lack of social interactions with colleagues further exacerbates the issue. For employers, the long-term uncertainty around returning to traditional workplaces has created indecision regarding corporate goals and strategy.
An additional challenge for business: a shift to remote work has led to numerous questions and difficulties for those individuals tasked with overseeing the health and safety of workers – such as what to do with OSHA concerns at home and how to prevent burnout, while fostering their workers’ well-being. All these scenarios and more can make it hard for EHS managers to think of what needs to be addressed. It becomes even more difficult to keep up with which jurisdictions are becoming less or more restrictive with regards to COVID-19 regulations. Certain states in the United States have recently relaxed restrictions, while the EU remains restrictive as new variants emerge. Many employers have encountered a minefield of regulations across jurisdictions as their entire workforce moved to remote work, often handling risk assessments for home offices across jurisdictions. While many regions have informal requirements, some had very specific regulations from insurance implications to screen size requirements.
In response to feedback from clients, RegScan launched i-Comply Home Office Rules in 2020. The new service includes series of checklists by jurisdiction so that companies can more easily understand what steps need to be taken to meet health and safety requirements in different countries. Companies want to protect their employees, both physically and mentally. These checklists help companies with most of their workforces still working from home, whether here in the US or all over the world.