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Workers’ compensation for remote workers

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

The modern work environment has seen a significant shift in recent years. As more people embrace remote work, it raises important questions about workers’ compensation.

For traditional office environments, the guidelines are clear, but what happens when the home becomes the office?

What counts as a workplace injury at home?

When working remotely, defining a workplace injury can get complicated. If someone working from home spills coffee on their laptop, it is clear that the equipment damage relates to work. But if that same person trips over a toy while grabbing a work document, is it a workplace-related injury?

Employers and insurance companies now face the challenge of determining which claims stem from work activities.

How does the office setup impact it?

One consideration for remote work is the home office setup. Improper ergonomics can lead to various health issues, including musculoskeletal disorders. Employees might work from couches, beds or dining tables without a company-provided workspace. Thus, workers’ compensation may see claims related to these ergonomic challenges.

How does mental health come into play?

Remote work blurs the boundaries between professional and personal lives. As a result, workers may experience increased stress, anxiety or other mental health issues. In fact, 23% of remote workers experience loneliness.

Distinguishing between personal and work-related mental health challenges becomes difficult, yet addressing the issue is important.

How should someone prove an injury happened?

Validating a claim can be a challenge without the usual office setup. In traditional office spaces, there may be CCTV footage or colleagues who can vouch for an incident. For remote workers, evidence may be photographs, medical reports or virtual timestamps.

How can employers play a role?

Employers bear a responsibility to ensure the well-being of remote employees. This might include providing guidelines for setting up a safe home office, offering online ergonomic assessments or giving access to mental health resources.

The rise of remote work introduces new challenges to workers’ compensation. As the definition of “workplace” evolves, so must the policies and practices associated with it. Both employers and employees must understand their rights and responsibilities.