CRA eJournal

Simple Steps to Reduce Telecommuting-Related Risks

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An increasing number of employees are teleworkers these days. According to Global Workplace Analytics:
• 50 percent of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and approximately 20-25 percent of the workforce teleworks at some frequency.
• 80 percent to 90 percent of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time. Two to three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of concentrative work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).
In another survey, 86 percent of teleworkers reported being more productive, with lower stress levels and a better balance between work and home life. Employers that allow telecommuting enjoy increased employee loyalty and lower costs. Despite these benefits, telecommuting does have some drawbacks. Teleworkers are as likely as other office workers to suffer from back injuries and repetitive strain problems. Your obligation to compensate employees for work-related injuries and illnesses applies no matter where they work.
Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of telecommuting-related risks:

Employer's Responsibilities: 
  1. Provide clear job descriptions, goals and reporting procedures for your telecommuting employees.
  2. Ensure your workers’ compensation coverage applies to telecommuters. For example, if you have out-of-state teleworkers, make sure you have "other states" coverage. 
  3. Verify that the organization’s general liability policy applies to the acts of telecommuters. 
  4. Provide workers with the right equipment and support.
  5. Offer training and guidelines for efficient teleworking.
  6. Ensure your employees know what to do in the event of a work-related injury and how to report a claim. Stress the importance of early reporting. 
  7. If your workers’ compensation insurer has a network of preferred providers, make sure your telecommuting employees have a list of nearby providers and their contact information. 
 Employees’ Responsibilities: 
  1. Provide work space with ergonomically correct chair, desk and computer equipment. 
  2. Complete a safety checklist certifying the space is free from hazards. This checklist is not legally binding, but details management expectations and, if signed, assumes employee compliance. 
  3. Verify that having a home work space will not violate the terms of their homeowners insurance policy, community CC&Rs or local ordinances. 
  4. Immediately report any work-related accident to the supervisor with all medical documentation related to the accident. If the employer’s workers’ compensation claims manager or insurer deems an inspection necessary, the employee agrees to cooperate with the inspector.  
For more information or help, contact the insurance professionals of EPIC’s CRA ProRental™ Insurance Program. Call us at: 800.234.6363.

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