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7 tips for keeping your remote working team safe and engaged

7 tips for keeping your remote working team safe and engaged

What does ‘work’ look like for you and your team in this current situation?

If your team is working remotely, there may be a lack of certainty about when we may all be able to return to work as we knew it, and when we do, what will it be like?  Even over conferencing platforms like Zoom or WebEx, chances are the face-to-face natural social interactions you’d share in the workplace have dramatically diminished over the past few months.

At the same time, there may be a change in domestic dynamics – perhaps both you and your partner are working from home using technology, you may have children still in the home which presents its own challenges. Plus many are on reduced hours and are trying to do more with less time.

As a leader, you also worry about looking after your peoples’ wellbeing, output and results while dealing with your own situation. We all have different levels of resilience, different needs for social interaction, different needs for the amount of feedback and interaction with our leaders.

The effect can be, to say the least, psychologically stressing on everyone.

Yet work needs to go on. How do you do this?

Firstly as a leader, identify what your needs are at this time.
How does being naturally introverted or extroverted impact you in this situation and under what conditions do you do your best work? Are you missing the hum of the office or are you happy working squirrelled away from your remote location?

These factors will likely influence your leadership response and accessibility at this time.

What we do know, however, is that under our obligations under the WHS/OHS Acts, Regulations and Codes of Practice such as Communication and Consultation and Risk Management – leaders in organisations need to demonstrate Duty of Care.

Here are 7 tips for keeping your people safe and engaged while working remotely

1.Ensure your people are safe wherever they are working
Employers’ duties extend to workers who work from home or remotely, and must take steps to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers.  Comcare has developed a Working From Home Checklist for employers and workers with guidance and measures on how they can meet their respective work health and safety obligations.

Download the Working From Home Checklist here >>.

2. Give people space
Acknowledge that work is different in many aspects when working remotely. This is the time to assess people on their output, not the clock, and short of installing surveillance cameras in everyone’s home, leaders have to trust people. A study from the Society for Human Resource Management found 77% of workers reported greater productivity while working offsite; 30% said they accomplished more in less time and 24 % said they accomplished more in the same amount of time.

Encourage your people to use outdoor spaces where possible when they take breaks from their computer and try to incorporate some exercise or other activity as part of their working day.

Trust people to do the right things, even though their days might be a mash-up of stop-start-stop-start-stop-stop-start, most people are bending over backwards to do a great job from home.

3.Create community – The Virtual Water Cooler
Create an open room in an online meeting tool like Zoom, WebEX, Skype or Microsoft Teams, and give your team the meeting code so they can join from wherever they are.
Set a time in the workday that works for everyone, say a morning coffee break, afternoon tea or end of the week “wine time” (or “whine time”) where people drop into the online meeting and can see each other and talk about non-work related things. Being able to see one another makes a difference. This is not a work meeting, it’s an essential mental health break.

4. Communicate and tell it straight
Create a weekly “News from the Trenches” via email, video or Facebook live (to a private group of your people, if it’s appropriate for your workplace) –– that outlines how the organisation is going – any initiatives, new clients/opportunities – feedback from clients and customers – how many sales made etc. Be straight, but positive where you can. Anything that reinforces that the business is making headway. A lot of people are terrified about losing their jobs or businesses closing down for good. If you can, reassure them of the steps the business is taking, what government assistance your business is utilising to keep them employed and the business operating, as well as future plans. Knowing is better than the fear of the unknown.

5. Reach out personally
As a leader, call your people regularly and ask “How are you going?”, “What can I/the business do to support you?”, “Do you have the resources to do your job remotely?” and check-in on their wellbeing. Keep them up to date with anything impacting their specific role or responsibilities and ask for ways that you can collaborate to further improve the remote working scenario.
If someone is struggling who is usually a great performer, reach out and ask them how they’re doing and seek to understand where they are at – is it a resourcing issue? The business landscape? Are the complexities of their specific role challenging to do remotely? Is it stress from the dynamics at home? Complete exhaustion? The key is to also listen and acknowledge rather than just talking.

6. Acknowledge people
Most team members thrive on positive feedback, acknowledge them for what they’ve done well either publically or personally and let them know their hard work under the current working conditions hasn’t gone unnoticed.

7. Turn fears into ideas – innovate
While some industries and business are being disrupted and decimated by the pandemic response, others are innovating their way to survival. Ask your team if they see any opportunities to innovate – has the current situation created any opportunities to offer new products, in new ways into new channels or to innovate with processes? Ask if people have any suggestions or can see any new opportunities – how can you turn fears into ideas? Your people are some of the best resources you’ll have for coming up with business innovation and this may be a new opportunity to thrive, both as a business and as an engaged remote team.

Research source: Society for Human Resource Management 
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/teleworkers-more-productive-even-when-sick.aspx


Want to train your staff at home or remotely?
LDN Interactive (LDN-i) – helping organisations train and develop staff while isolated

Leadership Dimensions, Safety Dimensions and Workplace Dimensions programs are now available through a facilitator-led, real-time, interactive training environment – via computer.

We don’t offer pre-recorded online programs – just the same experience of our face-to-face programs, delivered differently.

Find out more >>

5 tips for working successfully with subcontractors

5 tips for working successfully with subcontractors

Organisations are increasingly including subcontractors in their internal training, so everyone is aligned under a single Health & Safety framework. Not only is this beneficial for alignment of safety behaviours, but from a WHS compliance perspective, you have a duty of care to everyone who walks on site – and this includes your subcontractors.

Here are 5 things you should do to meet your WHS obligations and make partnering with your subcontractors run smoothly.

 

1. Know your obligations

Do you know your legal obligations when it comes to your subcontractors?

If you don’t know how can you plan to be compliant?

PCBUs (Persons Conducting Business or Undertaking) must ensure the health and safety of all workers at work in the business or undertaking including those :

  • who are engaged or are caused to be engaged by the PCBU – this includes subcontractors.
  • whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU.

You can check out our video below “WHAT AM I ACCOUNTABLE FOR?” which covers information about your general obligations.

2. Align subbies with your safety culture

Get your subcontractors involved in your internal safety training. Doing a safety course or have a special safety briefing? Get them involved. Subcontractors can’t meet your standards if they don’t know what your standards are. Training should focus on how to build partnerships with your subcontractors, rather than micro-managing them.

 

3. Appropriate supervision

Have regular project meetings to address whether your subcontractors’ performance is meeting the project’s safety and quality requirements. Keep a record of the communications and documentation you share with subcontractors so everyone is clear on who needs to do what, when and how.

 

4. Two-way communication

There should be two way communications between you and your subcontractor. Always be approachable and communicate clearly and succinctly so there’s no room for miscommunication or errors.  When the lines of communication are easy and each side knows the expectations, issues can get resolved more quickly and more gets accomplished.

 

5. Give them feedback

When you need to give your subcontractor feedback, do it in a way that encourages continuous improvement rather than blame, and remediation over retaliation. It’s also important to give positive feedback and acknowledge a job well done.

Want to learn to manage subcontractors?

Our 1-day live and interactive online program via computer or device.

Our program covers the WHS obligations regarding subcontractors and is designed to step through the various stages of effective subcontractor management, including assessing, evaluating safety history, attitudes, performance and reporting.

You will also gain the nationally recognised unit SLCSCM406 Implement and monitor subcontractor work health and safety requirements, which is part of the 10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction program.

Subcontractor Management is one of our most popular and requested programs, now available to the public via our live and interactive online format, available from anywhere you can access an internet connection.

Program Format & Cost


This program is a facilitator-led, real-time, interactive training environment via an internet-connected computer or device.
This is not a pre-recorded online program, it is the same experience as our face-to-face programs.


Date:  Contact us for upcoming dates here >>

Cost:  $495

Group Discount: 6 or more $395 per person..

GST is not applicable to accredited training.
The program fee includes all materials and assessments.

More from our blog

5 tips for working successfully with subcontractors

5 tips for working successfully with subcontractors

Organisations are increasingly including subcontractors in their internal training, so everyone is aligned under a single Health & Safety framework. Not only is this beneficial for alignment of safety behaviours, but from a WHS compliance perspective, you have a duty of care to everyone who walks on site – and this includes your subcontractors.

Here are 5 things you should do to meet your WHS obligations and make partnering with your subcontractors run smoothly.

 

1. Know your obligations

Do you know your legal obligations when it comes to your subcontractors?

If you don’t know how can you plan to be compliant?

PCBUs (Persons Conducting Business or Undertaking) must ensure the health and safety of all workers at work in the business or undertaking including those :

  • who are engaged or are caused to be engaged by the PCBU – this includes subcontractors.
  • whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU.

You can check out our video below “WHAT AM I ACCOUNTABLE FOR?” which covers information about your general obligations.

2. Align subbies with your safety culture

Get your subcontractors involved in your internal safety training. Doing a safety course or have a special safety briefing? Get them involved. Subcontractors can’t meet your standards if they don’t know what your standards are. Training should focus on how to build partnerships with your subcontractors, rather than micro-managing them.

 

3. Appropriate supervision

Have regular project meetings to address whether your subcontractors’ performance is meeting the project’s safety and quality requirements. Keep a record of the communications and documentation you share with subcontractors so everyone is clear on who needs to do what, when and how.

 

4. Two-way communication

There should be two way communications between you and your subcontractor. Always be approachable and communicate clearly and succinctly so there’s no room for miscommunication or errors.  When the lines of communication are easy and each side knows the expectations, issues can get resolved more quickly and more gets accomplished.

 

5. Give them feedback

When you need to give your subcontractor feedback, do it in a way that encourages continuous improvement rather than blame, and remediation over retaliation. It’s also important to give positive feedback and acknowledge a job well done.

Want to learn to manage subcontractors?

Our 1-day live and interactive online program via computer or device.

Our program covers the WHS obligations regarding subcontractors and is designed to step through the various stages of effective subcontractor management, including assessing, evaluating safety history, attitudes, performance and reporting.

You will also gain the nationally recognised unit SLCSCM406 Implement and monitor subcontractor work health and safety requirements, which is part of the 10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction program.

Subcontractor Management is one of our most popular and requested programs, now available to the public via our live and interactive online format, available from anywhere you can access an internet connection.

Program Format & Cost


This program is a facilitator-led, real-time, interactive training environment via an internet-connected computer or device.
This is not a pre-recorded online program, it is the same experience as our face-to-face programs.


Date:  Contact us for next available >

Cost:  $495 AUD.

Group Discount: 6 or more $395 AUD per person.

GST is not applicable to accredited training.
The program fee includes all materials and assessments.

More from our blog

Dreamworld Coroner finds leadership culpable

Dreamworld Coroner finds leadership culpable

On 25 October 2016, a tragic incident occurred on the Thunder River Rapids Ride (TRRR) at Dreamworld Theme Park, claiming four lives.

 

The 30-year-old TRRR ride was a water based family orientated ‘moderate thrill ride’ where patrons simulated white water rafting in a circular raft, suitable for patrons over the age of two, with the option of having children seated on an adult’s lap.

On that day Raft 5 became stranded on steel support rails situated at the end of the rides’ conveyor belt and it continued to travel where it collided with another raft before being lifted and pulled vertically into the conveyor mechanism. However, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Cindy Low and Roozbeh Araghi were caught in the mechanism of the ride, and were either trapped in the raft or ejected into the water beneath the conveyor. Although ride operators and some patrons immediately responded, the four were declared deceased at the scene. Two children, aged 10 and 12, seated at the top of Raft 5 were able to free themselves and escape to safety.

Beginning 2018,  Coroner James McDougall ‘s inquest examined the circumstances that caused the fatalities, including:

  • The construction, maintenance, safety measures, staffing, history and modifications of the ride.
  • The sufficiency of the training provided to staff in operating the ride.
  • The regulatory environment and applicable standards by which amusement park rides operate in Queensland and Australia.
  • What further actions and safety measures could be introduced to prevent a similar future incident from occurring.

Coroner James McDougall handed down his findings on Feb 24 2020 telling the Queensland court that there was a “total” and “systemic failure by Dreamworld to ensure all aspects of safety” and referred parent company Ardent Leisure for possible prosecution.

The findings included:

  • That the design and construction of the TTTR ride “posed significant risk” to patrons.
  • “Dreamworld could, and should, have identified the safety issues” but there was no evidence of an engineering assessment on the TTTR ride in 30 years.
  • There were “frighteningly unsophisticated systems” in place, that “shoddy record-keeping was a significant contributor to this incident and contributed to the masking of the real risk of the ride” and that the likelihood of a serious accident “was simply a matter of time”.
  • The responsibilities placed on operational staff was stressful and “clearly unreasonable and excessive” which included monitoring of the pumps, CCTV, air pressure of the gates and queue lines. Operating the ride was “complex, confusing” and the ride lacked the “required labelling”, with ride operators having to perform more than a dozen tasks in the space of a single minute.
  • Each of the trained ride operators, noted that a requirement the role was to watch the water level, done by looking at an informal ‘scum’ mark around the trough of the ride, as well as the buoyancy of the rafts at the load and unload station, and whether they were sitting on the rails.
  • There was also evidence of “an inherent lack of proper training and process in place at Dreamworld to ensure the training provided to new Ride Operators and Instructors was suitable for the roles and responsibilities to be undertaken.”

Following the Dreamworld tragedy and the in the wake of the deaths of two workers at the Eagle Farm racecourse, Queensland introduced the charge of industrial manslaughter in 2017. Under those laws Ardent Leisure, Dreamworld’s parent company, would faces fines of up to $3 million, with individual executives facing up to $600,000 and five years’ jail.

However, this law does apply retrospectively and the industrial manslaughter provisions only apply to the deaths of workers, not visitors to a workplace.

Coroner McDougall said he “reasonably suspected” Ardent Leisure had committed an offence under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and advised he would be referring the company to the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations to consider prosecutions. In 2017 Queensland Police advised that no criminal charges would be laid against Dreamworld staff over the fatalities.

Coroner McDougall stated in his remarks that “such a culpable culture can exist only when leadership from the board (of Dreamworld’s parent company, Ardent Leisure) down are careless in respect of safety … that cannot be allowed.”

Download the complete Coroner’s report:

https://www.awu.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/10545784-final-dreamworld-draft-6-for-upload_compressed.pdf

Ready to train your people in risk management, hazard identification and subcontractor management?

We have a range of programs to train your people in risk management, hazard identification  and subcontractor management which can be tailored specifically to your industry and organisational needs. Training can be delivered as individual modules or as part of one of our accredited programs.

You can see our full program suite here >> or see some relevant units below:

Risk Assessment & Hazard Identification

This program helps you identify and describe the difference between a hazard and a risk, and introduces a way of thinking about hazard identification and risk management as an everyday activity.

It will also enhance the skills and capabilities of leaders in the areas of hazard identification, risk analysis and identification and how to implement appropriate risk controls.

Download the course outline>>

Subcontractor Management

Learn to effectively manage WHS site risks and performance by learning how to effectively select, manage and monitor the complex and difficult world of subcontractors.  It also covers the WHS obligations regarding subcontractors, stepping through the various stages of effective subcontractor management, including assessing, evaluating safety history, attitude and managing expectations of performance and reporting.

See our 1-day program >>

BSB41415 Certificate IV in WHS

The BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety is a nationally accredited program which will teach you how to identify hazards in the workplace, assist with responding to incidents, assess and control risk and consult on work health and safety issues. This program is most suited to those in a Safety Officer or Health and Safety Representatives role, or those currently in leadership roles wishing to shift their career into Health and Safety. This program is currently being updated.

Read more about this program >>

Want to find out more about how we can customise our programs to your industry and organisation?
Let's talk!
Call us on 1300 453 555, email info@safetydimensions.com.au or use our contact form here.

From our blog

WHS Learner Profile – Kevin Walker

WHS Learner Profile – Kevin Walker

Kevin Walker recently undertook the  BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety, a nationally recognised qualification which trained him to identify hazards in the workplace, assist with responding to incidents, assess and control risk, and consult on work...

read more

Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

When hiring labour, no one should assume that someone else is taking care of health and safety. Everyone in the chain is required to know who is doing what and work together  so risks are eliminated or minimised.

With major construction and infrastructure projects all over the country requiring large workforces, industry is increasingly turning to labour hire to fill the gaps in the workforce.
So what are your WHS obligations to labour hire workers?

Safe Work Australia has published a guide titled ‘Labour hire: duties of persons conducting a business or undertaking’ which provides information for all parties on complying with their health and safety duties for labour hire under the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws. This is for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs), and those involved in the supply of workers (labour hire PCBUs) to work for another business or undertaking (host PCBUs).

Essentially, when hiring labour, no one should assume that someone else is taking care of health and safety. Everyone in the chain is required to know who is doing what and work together with other duty holders so risks are eliminated or minimised as far as is reasonably practicable. What is reasonably practicable will depend on the circumstances.

According to Safe Work Australia, before you engage labour hire workers to carry out work, PCBU’s should consider:

  • Providing the labour hire PCBU/s with detailed information about the nature of work to be carried out, including details of, and where possible supporting material, relating to:
    • The work environment/s
    • Tasks to be performed
    • Accommodation arrangements
    • Any known hazards or risks
    • Any plant or equipment to be used
    • Organisational and WHS arrangements, including supervision arrangements and any other organisations responsible for the worker during the arrangement
    • Health and safety risks associated with the work, and
    • Any skills, knowledge, licenses and qualifications required to safely undertake the work.
  • Verifying, in consultation with the labour hire PCBU, that the selected worker/s have any necessary qualifications, licences, skills and training to carry out the work safely. In limited circumstances, you may be required to verify the worker/s are medically fit to carry out the work (see regulations 168 and 417(3)(b) of the model WHS Regulations)
  • Discussing with the labour hire PCBU, arrangements for health monitoring and vaccinations
  • Consulting with the labour hire PCBU/s on WHS matters including information in relation to who will provide any necessary equipment such as personal protective equipment (PPE), and relevant points of contact for health and safety between the organisations
  • Ensuring that general health and safety information about the work, workplace and work environment has been provided to the worker/s. Check that you have provided this information in a way that is suitable, adequate and readily understandable for the worker/s
  • Eliminating or, if that is not reasonably practicable, minimising risks in the workplace
  • Establishing, in consultation with the labour hire PCBU/s, a review process for ensuring the ongoing WHS of workers, and
  • Any more you can do to ensure the health and safety of all your workers.

The guide also covers what PCBUs need to do while labour hire is engaged in the project, as well as the obligations of those of the PCBUs involved in the supply of workers.

Source: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/news/new-guidance-labour-hire-available

 

Want to learn how to manage subcontractors?

Learn to effectively manage WHS site risks and performance by learning how to effectively select, manage and monitor the complex and difficult world of subcontractors.

Find out more and download the course outline below or call us on 1300 453 555.