When the occupational safety and health personnel were asked what kind of occupational safety and health issues had recently come up to be resolved, the answers varied between digital and non-digital work. In digital work, ergonomics became a key occupational safety and health challenge. Working time, breaks as well as insurance issues were also causes of concern. In non-digital work, the most important occupational safety and health issues were traffic and mobility, the safety of the workspace at the client's premises and working alone.

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What kinds of occupational safety and health issues related to employees working outside the workplace have recently been solved?

Digital work: 179 answers, Non-digital work: 132 answers
ErgonomicsWorking time and breaksInsurance mattersCoping at work and monitoring of loadData protection and securityInformation technologyPercentage of mentions (%)051015202530354045Digital work
Traffic, mobilitySafety of client premisesWorking alone: threat of violence andaccidentsAgreeing on co-operation practices withthe clientHealth securityErgonomicsSafety and load associated with travelWork clothing and toolsWorking time and breaksPercentage of mentions (%)02468101214161820Non-digital work

Close communications, good orientation and flow of information support employees

Communication between supervisors and team members, good orientation and provision of information, as well as up-to-date instructions and reviewing them, were highlighted most frequently in the open answers as the best practices for supporting the safety, health and well-being of employees in work outside the workplace. In addition, the open answers mentioned face-to-face meetings and site visits, taking care of work equipment, self-care, responding to contacts, risk assessment, high-quality supervisory work and information produced by various systems.

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What are the best practices to support the safety, health and well-being of employees working outside the workplace?

270 answers
Communication with supervisors and teammembersOrientation, training and provision ofinformationUp-to-date instructions and their reviewFace-to-face meetings, site visitsWorking conditions in order, incl. toolsand use of timeAutonomous self-care and self-directionContacts whenever necessary and replyingto contactsRisk assessmentHigh-quality supervisory workUse and monitoring of systems andreportsNumber of mentions020406080100120140

Excerpts from the answers:

  • Close contact with the team and the supervisor
  • Orientation, going through the work task in advance
  • Ensuring that the policies (e.g. for working alone) are in place and functional
  • Agreed in-office days when everyone is present for a joint meeting.
  • Ensuring that employees have the safe equipment required in the work task.
  • Planning own work management methods and time, regular reminders of breaks
  • Bringing up issues immediately when they occur so that they can be addressed immediately.
  • ...

There may not be any differences in the effectiveness of safety practices, even though the work environments and the nature of digital and non-digital work outside the workplace are different

It was difficult to identify the hazards of a home office or other work facilities outside the workplace, and effective practices had not yet been established. In non-digital work, the risks are more clearly identified, although the work environments are diverse and varied.

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How does the functionality of occupational safety practices differ between digital and non-digital work outside the workplace?

General: 54 mentions, Digital work: 78 mentions, Non-digital work: 51 mentions
Work environments and the nature of workvaryThere are no differences in theeffectiveness of safety practicesOwn activity and responsibility areemphasized in bothDifficult to monitor and address issueswith the safety practices of bothThe hazards of both are poorlyrecognizedNumber of mentions024681012141618202224262830General
The hazards of home offices/remoteworkstations are not taken intoaccount/recognized and effectivepractices have not been establishedLittle interaction and “corridordiscussions”No work environment informationavailableMore responsibilityBetter access to communication andreporting channelsNumber of mentions02468101214161820222426Digital work
More clear risks and safety practices toconsiderWork is more varied, unpredictable, workenvironments change (e.g. travel forwork)Number of mentions051015202530Non-digital work

Various means of monitoring the safety, health and well-being of employees

The key means of monitoring the safety, health and well-being of employees in work outside the workplace were discussions and communications, participation in unit meetings and interaction with supervisors. In addition, safety observations and safety rounds, incident reports and various surveys and statistics were often mentioned as means of monitoring. However, many respondents also stated that the safety and well-being of people working outside the workplace is not monitored in any way.

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How does your workplace monitor the safety, health and well-being of employees working outside the workplace?

350 mentions
Discussions and communications,participation in unit meetingsThrough supervisors: interaction,performance appraisals, etc.Safety observations and rounds, incidentreportsPersonnel surveys, apps, statisticsNot at allOccupational health care reports,medical examinationsRisk assessmentOrientation, instructions, supportSickness absence monitoringWorkplace visitsWorking time monitoringOccupational safety and health meetingsNumber of mentions010203040506070

Occupational safety officers and occupational safety representatives have different ways of keeping in touch with people working outside the workplace

In non-digital work, occupational safety and health personnel kept in touch with people working outside the workplace especially by phone or with face-to-face discussions at the workplace. With regard to digital remote/hybrid work, a wider range of digital tools, such as Teams, Zoom and Yammer applications and email were highlighted.

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As an occupational safety officer/representative, how do you keep in touch with people working outside the workplace?

Digital work: 602 mentions, Non-digital work: 426 mentions
On the phoneThrough Teams, Zoom or YammerVia emailDiscussions at the workplaceNo communications at all or veryinfrequentWhatsApp or SignalResponds to contacts, available whenneededThrough a wide range of communicationplatformsIntranet, electronic bulletin board,newsletterDevelopment days, training, informationOn-site/workplace visitsThrough supervisorsOccupational safety and health meetingsSurveys, reportsPercentage of mentions (%)024681012141618202224262830Digital workNon-digital work