Remote Employee Workspaces

Sorry for the multi-question post :)

We have several remote employees who work out of their home offices.

Question 1 : Have any of you ever requested photos of remote workspace set-ups, or if not, how have you handled ensuring they are setting up their workspace in an ergnomically correct fashion?

One of our remote employees has filed a work comp claim, and I'd like to request photos of her workspace....

Question 2: Does anyone see any issues with this, and how would you make the request?

Thanks in advance for the help, oh wise forum-ites!


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • As always you bring up a good question. We only have three remote employees. Our IT Admin. guru will go to their homes and set up the computer equipment they need to work from home; but other than that, we do not have any photos etc. of their work area. Seems to me that we would be at the mercy of the employee reporting what happened as I do not see a way to "prove" they did not fall over their dog's squeaky toy vs a true workers comp. injury. This helps to show that we must have complete confidence in our remote employees to be honest with us at all times.
  • Thanks Dutch.

    Anyone else had a similar situation before? I really feel like I'm on thin ice here...
  • What would you be looking for in the photos? I'm just not sure that photos are going to provide you with a lot of information. On a past job, we had a telecommuting agreement which the employee needed to sign. The agreement required the employee's home office to be ergonomically correct and for the employee to have proper security set-ups on their computor and; provided authorization for someone to visit their home and confirm it. Our IT department steadfastly refused to send employees to the telecommuters home; so no one checked.

    Also, if the employee does trip and fall over their dog's squeaky toy, it might still be an accepted workers' compensation claim if it happened in the course and scope of employment, such as the employee got up to get a file and tripped over the toy.
  • This employee is claiming carpal tunnel, so workspace set up is extremely important. My guess is that she's working with her laptop in her lap on the couch, not at an ergonomically correct desk setup. Since we provide these things for our employees, if they willingly do not utilize the tools they've been given, it could impact our claim.

    Just trying to control costs here.

    BTW, this is totally what I feel like right now. ::angryface::
  • Is every workstation at your company set up in an ergonomically correct manner? If not, then it may not really help you much in court if this employee is being held to a different standard than other employees working inside the office. Just something to think about.

  • SNC - We also have an agreement with the off-site employee. The Work Space section is listed below.
    Good luck,
    Work Space The Employee shall provide space adequate to house the necessary tools and equipment provided by both parties and to conduct business in a professional manner and atmosphere.
    • It will be the Employee’s responsibility to provide a safe and efficient workspace that meets or exceeds that provided by The Bank in an on premise environment and be incompliance with OSHA standards. This shall include but not be limited to the following:
    o Adequate lighting and ventilation
    o Adequate control of temperature, ventilation and noise
    o Adequate electrical service with sufficient outlets to accommodate all necessary equipment safely
    o Electrical equipment should be free from hazards. Wiring and electrical cords should be secured and out of the way.
    o The RWS should be large enough to safely accommodate all equipment wiring and etc.
    o The RWS should be kept free of clutter or materials that could result in a fire or other hazard.
    o Floor surfaces shall be clean and dry. Carpeting (if any) shall be properly secured.
    o Hallways and doorways should be free from obstructions.
    o Desks, chairs and other furnishings shall be the appropriate size and height and be of an ergonomic design to provide a comfortable work environment.
    • The Bank reserves the right to approve the proposed RWS.
    • The Bank reserves the right to make periodic inspections of the RWS to insure the adequacy of the workspace, compliance with safety standards and compliance with data security standards.
    • It is recommended that the workspace be located in a securable portion of the Employee’s residence.
    • Workspaces outside the Employee’s residence shall be approved by the Employee’s supervisor prior to moving the RWS. The Employee will be responsible for paying any rental costs associated with the workspace.
    • It is the Bank’s expectation that the work space will be kept secure at all times. Special measures may be required to insure the security of bank data. Any measures of this type may be negotiated with Supervisor.
    • The Employee will keep all Bank owned equipment, data and files completely segregated from personal equipment, data, files and other unspecified personal items at all times.
    • An alternative worksite will be made available on Bank premises. In the event that the RWS is unavailable for a period longer than 2 business days, The Employee will either travel to same or take time off without pay. This will be at the discretion of The Employee’s Supervisor. The employee will bear all expenses incurred as a result of traveling to and working from the alternative worksite.
    • The Employee agrees to notify the Bank in writing of the location of the RWS equipment. Further, the Employee agrees to notify the Bank in writing at least 10 days prior to any relocation of the RWS. Notification is to include exact street address, City, State and Zip along with the telephone number for the new location. All standards for the RWS will remain in effect for any new site. (See further guidelines under Work Space heading)

    Work Environment The Employee agrees to maintain a secure and professional work environment equal or superior that found on bank premises.
    • Because the primary contact will be by telephone, particular attention must be paid to sources of loud noise, music and other distractions that would impact the ability of the employee to communicate effectively with customers and co-workers.
    • It is agreed that the Employee will not attempt to work and provide child care simultaneously. In the event that providing child care becomes necessary, the employee will first use accrued sick and then time off without pay.
    • In the event that The Employee is working while a spouse or sitter is providing child care in the area of the RWS, The Employee will ensure that a professional work environment is maintained at all times and that outside interruptions are kept at level consistent the environment found in office worksites located on Bank premises.
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