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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.

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Key WHS statistics Australia

Key WHS statistics Australia

Safe Work Australia compiles the National Dataset for compensation-based statistics which comprises information on workers’ compensation claims provided by each of the jurisdictional workers’ compensation authorities.

Although 563,600 people experienced a work-related injury or illness in 2017-18, the data in the Safe Work Australia report refers only to the 107,335 serious claims where the compensated injury or disease resulted in one week or more off work.

Why does it take so long to finalise the data?  Figures are updated only once all the appropriate authorities have investigated the deaths and more accurate information becomes available. Only then does Safe Work Australia include the incident in their statistics and publish their final report.

 

Key Findings

  • 144 fatalities nationally
  • 75% of workplace fatalities came from Transport, Postal & Warehousing / Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing / Construction & Mining in 2017-18.
  • 107,335 serious claims resulting in one week or more off work
  • $11,300 median compensation paid per claim

Fatalities By State 2017-18Fatalaties By State 2018

 

Number of fatalities, by gender 2017-18.

 

Number of fatalities, by industry 2017-18.

 

Number of fatalities, by occupation 2017-18.

 

Serious claims overall statistics, 2017–18

Serious claims overall statistics, 2017–18

 

Serious claims by nature of injury disease, 2017–18

Serious claims by nature of injury disease, 2017–18p

 

Serious claims by occupation, 2017–18

Serious claims by occupation, 2017–18p

 

Serious claims by industry, 2017–18

Serious claims by industry 2017–18p

Sources: Safe Work Australia https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/


© Commonwealth of Austr​alia.

Australian Bureau of statistics http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6324.0

Learn More About Our Foundational Safety Leadership Program

Focusing on shifting individual attitudes and mindsets regarding how safety is viewed in the workplace, this program also teaches new skills and knowledge to embed behaviour change at an individual and organisational level.

To find out how we can customise this program for your needs call us on 1300 453 555.

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.

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The link between WHS & your bottom line

The link between WHS & your bottom line

Evidence shows that organisations who invest in health and safety culture have a competitive advantage.

A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine looked at the financial growth of public companies that scored highly in the Corporate Health Achievement Award (CHAA) nominations. The CHAA awards recognise the healthiest, safest companies and organisations in North America and aim to raise awareness of best practices in workplace health and safety programs.1

As part of their application for the awards, organisations presented trend data showing a reduction of health risk, health-cost savings, or other impact on the business as a result of their safety, wellness, and health programs as well as their leadership and management culture.

Using this data, researchers took the top 17 performing companies and created stock market investment scenario, analysing the period spanning 2001 to 2014, using a hypothetical investment of $10,000.

The results?

Companies who did well in health and safety performance achieved a 333% return, compared to the stock market (S&P 500 index) return of 105% during the same period.

Even in the lowest-performing scenario, the CHAA companies achieved a 204% return, compared to an S&P return of 105% during the same period.

This research may have also identified an association between companies that focus on health and safety and companies that manage other aspects of their business equally well.

The modelling suggests that organisation that invested significantly in health and safety programs can outperform other companies in the marketplace.


REFERENCE:
Tracking the Market Performance of Companies That Integrate a Culture of Health and Safety: An Assessment of Corporate Health Achievement Award Applicants. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. January 2016 – Volume 58 – Issue 1 – p 3–8 doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000638.

Learn More About Our Foundational Safety Leadership Program

Focusing on shifting individual attitudes and mindsets regarding how safety is viewed in the workplace, this program also teaches new skills and knowledge to embed behaviour change at an individual and organisational level.

To find out how we can customise this program for your needs call us on 1300 453 555.

Want to transform your organisation's safety culture?

Download Course OutlinesSafety Dimensions offers accredited and non-accredited leadership training for leaders, safety professionals and employees to support organisations to effectively deal with safety performance challenges.

We can train anywhere in Australia and our programs can be customised for your workplace and industry. Download our program guide.

Call 1300 453 555 or email info@safetydimensions.com.au

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Workplace to support domestic violence survivors with additional leave

Workplace to support domestic violence survivors with additional leave

In a landmark decision 3 weeks ago, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission decided to provide five days’ unpaid leave per annum to all employees (including casuals) experiencing family and domestic violence  which is defined as violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by people who are, or have been in an intimate relationship.

Whilst the final model will be released 1 May, it does signify a significant change in Australian employment awards.  In their ruling, the Full Bench introduced this change by saying:

  • Almost 2.2 million Australian women have experienced family or domestic violence, or 1in 4
  • Domestic and intimate partner homicides represent the highest proportion of any category of homicides in Australia.
  • At least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner.
  • Family and domestic violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health among Australian women aged between 15 and 44.
    See sources for statistics here.

Fair Work also acknowledged such violence not only affects those who suffer it, but the children who are exposed to it, extended families, friends and work colleagues.  The commission also acknowledged that while men can, and do, experience family and domestic violence, such violence is a phenomenon that disproportionately affects women. This leave will be open to all.

Whilst the final model will be released on 1 May, in addition to updating company policies and informing all your Managers, we see this as an opportunity to further highlight this issue through education.   It is important to remove any stigma regarding domestic violence, the causes and impact, and importantly inform staff as to the support available through this significant change.

We encourage Work Health and Safety and Learning and Development departments to align this change to an education campaign to continue to raise the profile of this serious issue and help reduce those alarming statistics.

For more information on the ruling, click here.

SOURCE

Summary: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/awardsmodernfouryr/2018fwcfb1691-summary.pdf

Full Decision: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/html/2018fwcfb1691.htm#P668_52257

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Low “Near Miss” Reporting – Good Sign or Failure?

Low “Near Miss” Reporting – Good Sign or Failure?

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

We have a range of programs that will train your people in hazard identification and risk management which we can tailor specifically to your industry organisational needs.

Training can be taken as individual training program (download our course outlines here), or as part of one of our accredited programs:

10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction

BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety

BSB51315 Diploma Of Work Health And Safety

Need some training? We can customise to your needs.

A near-miss is defined as an “unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness or damage – but had the potential to do so.”

As organisations move through their safety culture maturity the issue of near-miss reporting raises its head. A mature organisation has a culture which tracks near-misses, examines how and why the near-miss happened, then puts in controls to minimise or eliminate the risk.  However not all organisations understand the purpose of near-miss reporting, or even if they say they do, they may fail to communicate benefits that reporting near-misses can bring to the safety of the organisation.

The purpose of near reporting is to allow the organisation to take cultural clues and assess their processes and procedures to determine how to prevent the “near-miss” occurring again with potential harm associated with it.

Some organisations celebrate low reported numbers of near-misses. However, many do this without closely determining what the low numbers mean? Did the near-misses not happen, or is it more likely that staff are just not reporting them?

Safety professionals agree that implementing a near-miss or close call reporting system works to rectify potential hazards and injuries.

Near-miss reporting is often described as a gift – because it hasn’t caused harm but instead is a wake-up call that something could have gone wrong if adequate controls weren’t put in place.

Near-miss reporting adds value in an organisation when it is treated in a proactive way – used to improve the workplace and move towards rectifying risks. At the same time support needs to be given to those who report the near-miss, and the learning that comes out of the near-miss or close call needs to filter through the whole organisation.

Why don’t people report near-misses?

There are five common reasons why employees / contractors don’t report near-misses or close calls.

  1. The fear of management reprisal. This could be; the fear of losing your job for speaking up, being branded a snitch or implicating others in the cause or the impact of the near-miss. For contractors it could be the fear of loss of reputation, work or an entire contract.
  2. Nothing happens. Near-miss reporting is seen as a ‘tick and flick’ requirement for management. The person reporting the near-miss does not ever hear or see what happens once they have submitted their report.
  3. The paperwork gets in the way. It’s just too much trouble to start up the paper trail which will go nowhere, so why should we all bother creating more work for everyone?
  4. What’s a near-miss and what do I have to report on? The uncertainty of what constitutes a near-miss and of exactly what has to be reported and sometimes even how to report it.
  5. It’s no biggie. The perception that it is ‘just something that happens in the line of work we do’.

10 Steps to encourage near miss reporting

  1. Train people in hazard identification. This has your people thinking proactively about hazards before they escalate into near misses. Safety Dimensions can help you with this.
  2. Remind your leaders and frontline staff that near misses being reported – especially if there have been a few in the past – are opportunities to improve, not slacken the focus on safety systems and procedures.
  3. Look for and share stories of where near miss reporting and rectifications have stopped a major incident or seek out and share near miss reports and how they are being responded to on a daily basis.
  4. Work collaboratively to work out a system to report near misses. i.e. potential for severe harm to people, plant/ assets, environment (high-risk). Keep it simple so everyone knows what to do and how to report.
  5. Make the reporting system easy to use and with the ability to collect useful data for rectification – this might mean you need to develop an anonymous reporting system, using technology i.e. online, an incident hotline, dedicated text message number or a mobile app.
  6. Encourage verbal reporting. You may need to start by doing the paper-work for your team.
  7. Praise whoever submits a near miss report. Let everyone know this is how they can play their part in stopping major incidents based on their reporting, before it happens again. The difference between complacency and speaking up (about a near miss or hazard) can make the difference between no one getting hurt, an injury or a tragic fatality.
  8. ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. You’ve been given a wake-up call by a near-miss, now use that knowledge of what ‘could have happened’ to put in controls to eliminate or manage the risk immediately.
  9. At the end of each week, month or quarter, review the types of near misses that have occurred, with your team, to highlight trends and patterns to determine coaching / training / reinforcement/ procedure or systems review that your organisation needs to undertake to strengthen the area.
  10. Acknowledge the fact that your team sees near miss reporting as “the way things are done around here” and it’s no longer a tick and flick exercise.

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

We have a range of programs that will train your people in hazard identification and risk management which we can tailor specifically to your industry organisational needs.

Training can be taken as individual training program (download all our course outlines here or the individual topics below) as part of one of our accredited programs:

10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction

BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety

BSB51315 Diploma Of Work Health And Safety

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 Risk Assessment including hazard identification, risk analysis.

This programs 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. Enhances the skills and capabilities of leaders in the areas of hazard identification, risk analysis, and identification and how to implement appropriate risk controls.

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Participate In Incident Investigations.

This program gives participants the mindset and skill set to undertake or assist in incident investigations, including how to identify and ensure all evidence and facts related to an incident  (or near-miss) are understood, sequenced and analysed.

Coach others to use best practice safety thinking when investigating near misses, high potential incidents and other critical events.

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Manage Incident Investigations.

This program develops your skills to determine the requirements, protocols and processes of managing a post incident response, including leading others to gather evidence effectively, identifying the real causal factors of an incident, corrective and preventative actions and overseeing appropriate reporting, monitoring and reviews.

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