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Working From Home Checklist

Empower work-from-home employees to be safe and efficient using digital checklists

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What is a Working From Home Checklist?

A working from home checklist is a tool primarily used by employers to assess the safety of a home office, and determine the suitability for employees to work from home. Work-from-home, or WFH employees use a working from home checklist to personally evaluate their work environment, identify areas of improvement, and implement efficient work practices.

This article will briefly discuss:

  1. the importance of using working from home checklists;
  2. answers to work-from-home frequently asked questions (FAQs);
  3. common health and safety risks when working from home and how to mitigate them;
  4. mobile app to help encourage safe and efficient work from home practices; and
  5. free working from home checklists you can download, customize, and use.

Why Use Working From Home Checklists?

The search term “working from home” hit a record high on March 17, 2020—when employees around the world were either encouraged, or forced to work from home to help contain the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. Utilizing working from home checklists is crucial for employers to fulfill their responsibilities despite the situation and for employees to do their part in keeping themselves and their homes safe.

Work From Home FAQs

  1. Is there an OSHA regulation for working from home?

    No. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration currently does not enforce federal regulations for employers to follow when their employees work from home, but an OSHA Compliance Directive exists for home-based worksites, or areas of an employee’s personal residence where the employee performs work for the employer.

  2. Does OSHA conduct inspections of all home-based worksites?

    No. OSHA will only conduct inspections of other home-based worksites such as home manufacturing operations when they receive a complaint or referral that indicates a violation of a safety or health standard. The scope of the inspection in an employee’s home will be limited to the employee’s work activities such as the assembly of electronics or handling adhesives without protective gloves.

  3. What are employers responsible for when their employees work from home?

    Even when U.S. employers are not expected to inspect the home offices of their employees, they are responsible for hazards caused by materials, equipment, or work processes they provide or require their employees to use in home-based worksites.
    Meanwhile, the Health and Safety Executive, or HSE, states that U.K. employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers, especially for lone working without supervision, using display screen equipment, or DSE, and work-related stress.

Common Working From Home Risks and How to Mitigate Them

OSHA specifies that injuries or illnesses incurred while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation at home are work-related cases and recordable on the OSHA 300 log if it meets recording criteria such as a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed healthcare professional, even if it does not result in death, or loss of consciousness among others. Here are common safety and health risks when working from home, so once they are identified, action can be taken to minimize them:

Work from Home Safety Risks and Controls

  • Workstation and Work Equipment – Typical work-from-home equipment such as printers and shredding machines should be used correctly and the display screens of desktop computers or laptops, keyboards, and mouses should be in good condition to avoid unnecessary work-related accidents.
    Poor lighting and lack of temperature control can also affect the quality of work and overall productivity, so make sure that employees’ home workspace is adequately lit and ventilated.
  • Fire and Electrical Safety – The most common fire hazards at home offices include electrical equipment, faulty wiring, and flammable materials. Regularly disposing of waste, including papers, and switching off equipment when not in use can help prevent the risk of fires.
    Additional security measures such as working in a lockable room can be implemented to reduce safety risks to other people at home, especially young children. Emergency procedures should also be in place, like identifying an assembly point outside the home, in case of any unexpected incident while working from home.
  • Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards – Carpets or throw rugs, clutter, and uneven flooring or stair steps are common causes of slips, trips, and falls when working from home. Secure floor coverings, keep essential items within easy reach, and clear walkways and corridors by upholding standards of good housekeeping even at home offices.

Work From Home Health Risks and Controls

  • Manual Handling and Ergonomics – Repetitive movements and sustained awkward posture and body positioning can result in fatigue and lead to back, neck, and shoulder injuries. When a load has to be manually handled, it should be held or manipulated as close to the body as possible.
    Home office desks and chairs should be ergonomically designed to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal problems and potentially restrict employees’ ability to undertake a wide range of work activities.
  • Work-related Stress – Since work-from-home employees are likely to work longer hours because they have no set schedule, sticking to a daily routine that includes short breaks and clearly defined lunch and end-of-shift times can help reduce work-related stress.
    Process documentation, especially when changes are being made at a rapid rate, and overcommunication can also help clarify work expectations, avoid misunderstandings, and lessen frustrations.
  • Mental Health – Feelings of isolation can negatively impact the performance of employees who are working from home. Research has shown that social isolation is associated not only with depression and sleeping problems, but also with increased risk for early mortality.
    Practicing appropriate self-care, connecting with colleagues via virtual meetings, and talking about non-work related matters using other online communication platforms are essential when working from home.

Empower Work-From-Home Employees to be Safe and Efficient

Staying safe and efficient while working from home can be challenging for employees. Empower frontline workers with an inspection and corrective action tool that can be learned in minutes so you can easily manage your team from wherever you are. With iAuditor by SafetyCulture, you can take advantage of the following benefits when you sign up for free today:

  • Easily convert paper forms into digital checklists with smartscan or customize pre-built, industry templates with drag-and-drop editor
  • Use working from home checklists anytime, anywhere, and on any mobile device—even when offline
  • Take or attach photos of the home office environment or safety and health risks and annotate images for improved visual reference
  • Assign actions with a priority level and due date to rectify issues immediately
  • Auto-generate and secure working from home safety reports in the cloud and share them to key stakeholders with a tap of a finger

Author

Shine Colcol

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.