During the Health and Safety Event at the NEC this week, the StaySafe team attended a talk about the impact of Lone Working on Wellbeing, led by Oakwood Training. The company helps organisations to look after the personal safety and wellbeing of their staff.
The discussion presented by Director Terry Streather, drew attention to how personal safety is linked to mental wellbeing of lone workers – an issue which is often overlooked in the workplace as poor mental wellbeing is not something that can always be seen or expressed.
How is wellbeing affected by working alone?
Lone workers who work remotely, such as housing officers and social care workers, may grow concerned about their safety when travelling and working behind closed doors. Client-facing roles often expose employees, particularly those working alone, to aggression, threats and even attacks from upset clients and erratic members of the public.
This feeling of unease ultimately has a knock-on effect to mental health and wellbeing of lone working staff, as self-esteem drops and feelings of anxiety increase, affecting their performance and ability to carry out their duties.
Terry highlighted how the consequences of the depleted wellbeing of a Lone Worker can be devastating, with suicide being the biggest killer between the ages of 20 to 49. It was reported that 49% of users took absence from work for depression and anxiety related illness. Absence and replacement of workers unable to operate to their full potential can rack up huge company costs.
What can be done to support Lone Worker wellbeing?
Employees are a valuable asset, and it is the moral obligation of an employer to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their staff so that they meet Lone Worker standards. It makes good business sense for Lone Workers to feel safe and supported by their employers in any working environment and in turn, keeps costs to organisations down.
Investing time and money into the personal safety and wellbeing of Lone Workers is minimal in comparison to the accrued costs to organisations if their Lone Worker’s health and safety is not effectively managed, and can boost productivity and success in the workplace.
- Prevention: Systems put in place before a problem arises, rather than implemented after it has been caused.
- Referral and support: Ensuring your lone workers are fully protected and have the support they need
- Policies that promote: Are your Lone Worker policies up to date and do your Lone Workers know and adhere to them?
- Work load: Workers shouldn’t feel under pressure to exceed their working hours and should take leave in order to schedule rest and recovery
- Risk assessments: There should be a clear understanding of risks involved to Lone Workers, followed by a Wellness and recovery plan
How can safety apps support Lone Workers?
As automation and new technology is advancing, dedicated devices are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, with lone worker apps stepping in and becoming an integral part of an organisation’s overall personal safety strategy.
Unlike devices, which are added equipment that staff need to remember to charge and reportedly found difficult to engage with, apps have the ability to make staff feel secure as they carry out tasks remotely and during later shifts, even without a direct point of contact at the time.
With apps like StaySafe, lone workers are provided peace of mind that a signal can be raised at the touch of a button. With missed check-ins, an alert can even be raised if an incident or attacker prevents them from accessing their phone.
StaySafe is lone worker solution comprised of a smartphone app and monitoring Hub. As an easy to use solution which can be tailored to individual business needs, you and your lone workers can rest assured that help can be sent in any situation.
For more information about how personal safety and wellbeing in the workplace, visit: http://oakwoodtraining.co.uk/