Lone workers are nowadays more vulnerable than ever before, due to the pandemic. The new coronavirus has halted projects, emptied offices, delayed orders, and produced unprecedented challenges, yet workers, as well as lone worker across different industries, have continued to carry out their vital duties throughout the lockdown and pandemic. As new waves hit us continuously, safety and health remain under the spotlight as companies review working practices and identify risks to employees.
Hence, there has been a clear surge in demand for lone worker technology and safety solutions. The requirement to maintain social distancing has transformed working practices, meaning that increasingly more employees in different verticals are operating either alone or out of sight from managers, thus classing them as ‘lone workers’.
Since the 11th of March of last year, when the WHO or World Health Organisation declared the new coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, there has been a large number of alterations to worker safety, especially for those working remotely or alone. Recent studies and surveys show that about 33% of executives state that they need less office space and so they will in the near future because of the substantial increase in remote work.
Lone worker: what is it exactly?
An employee is considered a ‘lone worker’ when he or she works in isolation, remotely, or by himself or herself without supervision from his or her manager, security, or colleagues. According to the HSE or Health and Safety Executive in the United Kingdom, lone worker are defined as ‘those who work by themselves without direct supervision’.
How can technology help protect lone workers?
As a manager, business owner or employer, you have a responsibility and legal duty to ensure your workers and members of the staff are safe are sufficiently equipped with the ideal tools and technologies such as alarm systems in case of health emergencies while on the job. If you employ members of your staff who work in remotely or in isolation, it is absolutely essential that you use one of those methods to guarantee a constant stream of communication and accountability, as well as the ability for your management team to alert authorities or law enforcement in the event of an emergency.
Establishing efficient means of communication with employees to respond to incidents is key. This frequently needs to be more than just ensuring your lone workers carry their smartphone to call to the emergencies themselves. There is a wide range of technologies to enable suitable protection for workers, from a mobile application and a lone worker alarm, or other similar devices that can discreetly raise an alarm using GPS tracking, to other devices with detection capabilities built in.
Because of the new coronavirus, there are more lone worker now than before
There is definitely more lone worker now because of the new coronavirus, but actually, this number has been increasing over the last decade because of the service nature of new technology-based industries and verticals and more-so the service nature of technology.
It has definitely become much more dangerous for lone worker to carry out their duties alone since the outbreak of Covid-19. Some workspaces are requiring their workers to wear masks but some others are not. Some businesses are practicing social distancing as required but some others are not. Some workplaces are utilizing those practices as statements, and there are great frustrations and tensions that are competing with worker safety that have actually been exasperated by the new coronavirus. A large number of lone workers often walk into situations where they have an idea of what’s going on. It could be a negative situation where a person has been waiting for you for hours or days and the person they have to deal with is upset. They may be coming to an office or home where a person is sick. This can impact their stress levels since they have to get the work done but they obviously don’t want to get sick. Because of all these reasons and many more, lone workers are now more vulnerable than ever, and we need to step up in order to protect them.