With so many businesses making the transition to remote work for those employees who are eligible, it may leave you wondering how your workers' compensation insurance applies in those situations. It's important to understand that, if a remote employee sustains an injury in the course of their job, your workers' compensation coverage applies. There are some things that you can do to help minimize those risks since direct oversight is limited in remote work arrangements.

Set Clear Remote Work Policies

You need clear policies in place that define the parameters of remote work agreements. This includes expectations for communication, virtual meetings, and even logging hours and responsibilities. These are all important elements for validating a potential workers' compensation claim and should be defined and enforced with all remote employees.

Create Home Office Standards

When you're ready to embrace remote work for your business, you can reduce the risk of injuries on the job by establishing standards for each employee's home workspace. This should include ergonomic requirements to prevent postural and repetitive motion injuries as well as sufficient lighting, break requirements, and safety equipment. These are all vital components that the company would establish for in-house workers, so they should apply to remote staff as well. With a clear standard in place for home-based work environments, you reduce the risk of injuries on the job and subsequent workers' compensation claims.

Encourage Routine Home Office Safety Audits

Your safety focus shouldn't stop with the establishment of the home workspace. Instead, you should encourage routine safety audits of the work environment to identify any potential safety hazards that could lead to injuries.

This audit should include looking for any loose or obstructive cords that could pose a trip hazard or other injury, ensuring proper electrical outlet operation, and replacing light bulbs when needed. Create audit checklists to assess key elements of the home office and have employees submit them digitally at regular intervals. This provides your company with some checks and balances to offset some of your limited oversight.

These are some of the most important steps that your business can take to minimize the risk of workers' compensation claims with your remote work staff. Make sure that all remote workers understand the importance of your safety standards and their compliance, then take the necessary steps to enforce those rules for all of the necessary workspaces. The more proactive you are about encouraging worker safety, the less risk you'll face of workplace injuries.

If you have questions, reach out to your workers' compensation insurance provider.