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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 >>

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 health and safety issues.

As a worker in the QLD building and construction industry, he was eligible for a Construction Skills Queensland subsided place to undertake the program. We asked Kevin about his experience of doing the program, what he learnt and how his workplace will benefit from his new WHS skills.

Kevin, tell us a bit about yourself and the kind of work you do?

I work as a blocklayer/bricklayer but also have experience working in mining. I finished school at Year 10 and went from school straight into a construction apprenticeship. Training in those days included TAFE. They tried to teach us the safe way to do things, but when I got onto a worksite we were just expected to get the job done – regardless of whether the job site or work methods were safe or not. I remember in the late 1980s laying bricks while standing on top of a 44-gallon drum!

When I worked in the mines, they were very safety focused – it’s a very high-risk environment so there is a lot more training and attention on risk management and hazard reduction. This safety focus really rubbed off on me and I took that thinking into my next construction job. Even though the attitude of the construction industry hadn’t changed, mine definitely had.

 

Why did you choose to do the course?

I was very interested in furthering my education in safety and getting a formal qualification. I saw the Workplace Dimensions advert on Facebook for Construction Skills Queensland subsidised training and it was exactly what I was looking for.

I’d seen WHS programs advertised before, they were expensive; plus I’d also have to take a whole week off work unpaid, which would make it even more difficult. The program subsidy from Construction Skills Queensland made the difference – it’s made doing my Cert IV in WHS possible and now everyone on-site benefits from the knowledge and skills I have.

Find out more about CSQ subsidised training >>

 

What did you get out of the course?

I saw safety in a different light and I enjoyed it immensely. Previously I couldn’t really explain safety to people as effectively as I wanted to. I knew the WHS Act was a legal requirement everyone is bound by, but now I have the language and tools to break down the concepts and explain it to others on site.

I’ve now got the skills to have powerful conversations that engage people to think for themselves about what they’re doing, how they do it and to come up with solutions that make the work and environment safer. Knowing what’s safe and legally compliant is one thing, but being able to get your whole crew on board with you is a different skill. I know the course has really helped me with that and to become a safety leader.

My boss and our Estimator at work both have the WHS qualification, so we have someone at every level with the knowledge to cover our legal obligations, and most importantly send our crew home in one piece every night. I had Kevin Obermuller as the trainer and he explained everything until we all understood the concepts and used his life experiences in many industries to tell great stories to make the information hit home.

It’s amazing that spending even 5 minutes looking closely at risks can make a huge impact.

 

What has been the impact of you doing the course?

I have stopped work recently because of an unsafe site, even though the client pushed for us to start. In the ‘bad old days’, workers would just give in to the pressure and start the job. I’ve always known it but now I have the legal background knowledge to explain my rights and obligations and take the action needed to not start work until we are satisfied we have identified all risks and managed them.

Now that the crew know I’ve done the qualification, they come to me for advice. We now have the confidence to stop work if any new hazards come up through the day and ensure they’re managed before anyone starts work again. Previously, the boys often wanted to jump in and just start working without having safety measures in place – like wearing dust masks. Now I can’t walk past this.

Now I can explain the legal side and the more and more I talk, the more people get it. The crew now share stories about things that have happened on other sites. Combining our experiences and perspectives makes the safety message come alive.

I’m also implementing pre-inspection walk-throughs of our jobs to check the site risks. This not only ensures the site is safe before we turn up, but is saving the boss money because we don’t have crews standing around at start time because the site isn’t safe for us.

Another thing that came out of the course is that I’m now implementing a sit-down chat with all our new people to go through the SWMS (Safe Work Method Statements). Rather than just handing them the documents, I now go through it with them and have them thoroughly understand what they are signing on to. The SWMS can be long so in the past some people just sign them off without understanding they are actually signing a legal document.

On-site today, we had a contractor truck driver arrive. He’d parked ready to start work. I pulled him up and we looked at the risks – he hadn’t been aware of the powerlines as a potential hazard. Without that conversation, he would not have been ready to start work. He moved his truck out of the danger zone after that conversation and he thanked me for bringing it to his attention when he left. This is the difference this course makes – you just don’t step over anything that can put people at risk.

 

What would you say to others considering doing the course?

This course is like the invention of the wheel – you look back and see how things used to be before you had that knowledge. You do things and operate very differently when you don’t know what you don’t know. Now, with the knowledge of WHS, we are doing jobs completely differently when it comes to safety and the jobs are still getting done to a high standard and on time.

I wish more people were able to do the course and take the opportunity of CSQ funding. Having the subsidy available takes away a big financial barrier to doing the course and I am recommending more of our people get this knowledge. I encourage at least one person from every construction company to do the Cert IV in WHS. Put your hand up for the responsibility – this training makes all the difference. Doing the program has opened my eyes – once you have the knowledge you are never the same.

Workplace Dimensions thanks Kevin for speaking to us and wish him all the best keeping everyone safe!

Do you know we offer the BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety

program in a live, interactive online format?

Gain your qualification in Work Health & Safety in a live online environment, via computer or device

Our BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety program is now available through a facilitator-led, real-time, interactive training environment – via an internet connected computer or device.

This could be the right time to add value to your role while working at home or from the workplace.

This is not a pre-recorded online program – it is the same experience as our face-to-face programs, delivered by our public programs division Workplace Dimensions.

 

FOR ALL INDUSTRIES

 

 

NEXT START DATES: 

Mon 20, Tue 21, Wed 22 & Mon 27, Tues 28 July 2020
OR
Mon 17, Tue 18, Wed 19 & Mon 24, Tues 25 August 2020

More 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

Why self-paced online training isn’t for everyone – and how LDN do online differently.

Why self-paced online training isn’t for everyone – and how LDN do online differently.

Hasn’t the world changed? In a short period, we now have a ‘new normal’. For some, this has meant working from home, for others, reduced hours, being stood down, or unfortunately retrenched.

What has become certain is that life is uncertain.

 

Yet, the need to expand our skills and be more ‘employable’ has never been more critical. If this resonates and you find yourself ‘googling’ online training or qualifications, there are a couple of things to consider.

Not all online training is the same.

Training providers vary in what they consider ‘online’ learning. When researching, find out how the program is delivered and what happens if you get stuck.  Is the program fully self-paced? This may mean you are given a pdf workbook, login to an online portal of content, pre-recorded lessons including videos, materials, quizzes and message boards, then it is up to you to go through the content and complete assessments. Research what live support you get from trainers via email, chat or phone.  Is this included in the price or extra? How quickly will they respond to your questions or give you feedback?

This style of learning works for some. Why? It’s inexpensive (compared to face-to-face training), you can do it at your own pace, (working around family commitments or work) and you can do it from anywhere.

Sounds like #winning – right?

At LDN, we do things differently.

Our online training is delivered in real-time, with a live facilitator interacting with you, just as they would in face-to-face training – all from the comfort of your home or workplace or anywhere else you can get an internet connection. 

 

We know how people learn best, and therefore combine the best of face-to-face training interactively, just delivered via technology to give you the best learning outcome. We use the most compelling aspects of online interactive technology but don’t leave our learners muddling through on their own.

 

How do you know if self-paced online programs will work for you?

Even with the best intentions, do you sometimes find yourself procrastinating, or struggling to find time to juggle all the urgent versus important things each day?  Let’s face it, we’re not all cut out for self-paced learning. The allure of training in your own time, when convenient, is attractive. However self-paced online only, without live sessions requires steely self-discipline, especially if there is no set timetable.  Also, watching a video and reading materials isn’t always the most exciting way to learn, even if you are passionate about the subject. Especially if the only sliver of time you have to yourself is at 3 am on a Wednesday.

These factors are critical contributors to why online training programs have lower completion rates than traditional face-to-face programs, so you should ask yourself, “Am I a self-paced person or can I find a way to make a structured program work?”.

 

With LDN, you learn in real-time. 

For most people, we find sticking to a structure and having physical materials helps them get things done. When you undertake our programs, you’ll turn up at a specific time on a particular day, just like a real face-to-face session. If you can commit to the time, you’ll get through the content.

We will send you the workbook in the mail so you have something actually in front of you before the live training starts.  No reading pages and pages of text off a screen, nothing to print.  We provide everything you need to participate.  You can find out more about how we do this here.

 

Checking for deep understanding

Our live facilitators check for understanding throughout the session. When a question arises during a face-to-face learning session, it’s dealt with in the moment, so you can then continue your learning with that question answered. If you’re learning in a self-paced format, you may be less likely to ask questions to fill in the gaps of your knowledge if it means sending an email, then waiting for a response and may keep going even if you don’t quite ‘get it’. This may later impact how successful you are with your assessments, and more importantly, it creates a gap in your knowledge.

If you’re someone who likes to ask questions as you’re learning, learning in a live interactive format is going to deliver you the best outcome.

 

Doing it on your own doesn’t work for everyone

The solitary nature of some online self-paced programs may suit students who are uncomfortable in a classroom situation. But if you’re a person who learns well in a group and likes to bounce off ideas, self-paced will likely be a little lonely for you. Traditional eLearning is often geared toward ploughing away at the program content with few opportunities for social interaction, apart from writing and responding to threads on message boards.  This doesn’t make a program’ interactive’, and often the best learning happens when participating or listening to an evolving live conversation!

 

With LDN you’ll learn with a live facilitator and a group of other learners.

You’ll get one of our excellent facilitators live on your computer or device from where ever you are. And you’ll learn with others – just like a real training room. You’ll be able to see your facilitator, interact, discuss, join break-out rooms and simulate many of the activities you can do in a ‘real’ training room. This is as close to a live training experience as you can get without physically being in a room together.

 

Completion rates and satisfaction

If you’re looking at self-paced accredited training, ask your provider, “What’s the completion rate of people undertaking their program?”.  This will give you a good idea of how well they support their learners through their learning and assessments.

 

We’ll be there for you.

Our support doesn’t end when the live interactive online sessions do. You have time after the interactive sessions to complete your assessments with our facilitators and support staff available to support you via video chat, phone and email.  Our results demonstrate quality.  The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NVCER) surveyed graduates of our accredited programs and reported:

  • 97.1% were employed or enrolled in further study after training.
  • 96.8% were satisfied with the overall quality of their training.
  • 93.7% would recommend the training, 96.4% would recommend us as a training provider.
  • 89.3% achieved their main reason for doing the training

 

See the full  NVCER report here.

 

By focusing on the vital component of learning collaboratively, with a real-time facilitator and your peers (yet also supported by online collaboration tools) LDN uses the technology to enhance your learning experience – and that’s what gives our learners the best outcome.

______________________

SOURCES

https://workplacedimensions.com.au/wp-content/uploads/NCVER-Australian-vocational-education-and-training-statistics.pdf
https://www.ncver.edu.au/research-and-statistics/publications/all-publications/online-delivery-of-vet-qualifications

Safety Dimensions offers both accredited and non accredited programs though our LDN-i platform powered by the Zoom conferencing platform.

 

Call us on 1300 453 555  or contact us for more info.

What public programs are coming up soon?

Subcontractor Management live, online and interactive.

SLCSCM406 Implement and monitor subcontractor work health and safety requirements

Learn to manage subcontractors and gain a unit  which is part of the 10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction program.

Find out more >>

WHS live, online and interactive.

BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety: 5-day program.

A nationally recognised qualification which will train you to identify hazards in your workplace, assist with responding to incidents, assess and control risk, and consult on work health and safety issues.

 

Find out more >>

Qantas safety video a trip down aviation memory lane

Qantas safety video a trip down aviation memory lane

The new Qantas in-flight safety video ‘A Century of Safety’ spans 10 decades and showcases some of the moments that have made Qantas the world’s safest airline.

The video takes passengers on a trip down memory lane, recreating the aircraft , uniforms and music from the past 100 years.

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.

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.

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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