A Cooperative Approach to Monitoring Employees Working Alone

A Cooperative Approach to Monitoring Employees Working Alone

Changing safety procedures for employee engagement.

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” – Charles Kettering.

Monitoring employees working alone. Where do you start? We can all agree that the world of employee safety could use change. While it’s true, changes are being made on a daily basis, Kettering had a point when he said “the world hates change”. Changes are slow and painful, especially in the area of health and safety. One of the main reasons for this is that you have to change an entire culture, decisions about safety practices and procedures are never made by one person alone. Changing one mind is hard enough, changing a group of minds is a herculean task.

Recently, we came across an article by Roberto Garcia on LinkedIn: It is time to let employees think again: A person-centred approach to health and safety. The article highlights how important it is to let employees be a part of the safety process. Companies that adhere to old views of health and safety have a tendency to over-rely on safety procedures that clash with employee engagement. Garcia believes part of the answer is to give employees more autonomy when it comes to their health and safety. This is what he calls the “person-centered approach”.

WSG Cooperative & Positive Safety

Building Shared Trust.

A company can give employees some autonomy over health and safety without being negligent. Garcia calls this “building shared trust”. For example, lone workers are by definition not directly supervised by their employers or superiors. This means that, whether the company likes it or not, lone workers are responsible for their own health and safety most of the time. Whatever safety solution put in place has to be cooperative and proactive to have any chance of success.

This is why companies need to work collaboratively with their staff to provide solutions that are practical and functional. Especially for monitoring employees working alone. A 2013 study by Huang et al. found that employees who come from companies with a strong safety culture are more likely to behave appropriately even when they are in a lone working situation. When a company provides the right tools for lone workers the lone workers then respond to this and use the tools provided.

Giving employees back the reins when it comes to safety procedures is proactive rather than negligent. In saying this, it does not mean that the company should send lone workers out and expect them to create appropriate safety procedures for themselves.

A council employee is poacking up the back of his buggy after working in the park alone. Monitoring employees working alone with the WSG app.

Complaints about monitoring employees working alone.

There are too many examples of safety issues with lone workers to pretend that there are no issues. There are. How do you provide solutions for monitoring employees working alone that really work? One way is to provide tools that lone workers can use when they need it, not necessarily all the time. Giving the employees back some autonomy when it comes to safety.

There are two common complaints that we hear when employers are trying to monitor employees working alone. First, is that most lone workers don’t want someone looking over their shoulder all the time. They resent solutions that require them to have their location monitored constantly. Likewise, they dislike apps that force them to turn on their “find my iPhone” setting. From our research, we have discovered they want a safety solution that allows them to be found when they need to be.

Secondly, separate devices, be it a card around their neck or a small button in their pocket, are a hindrance to staff. One manager couldn’t bear to see thousands of dollars’ worth of devices sitting on charge as the field workers were out and about alone. What they wanted was a solution where their employees could use the safety measures when and if they needed them leveraging hardware they used every day such as their smartphones. The employee’s safety solution should only monitor when there was an issue and to reduce employee resistance stop an employer checking in to see where they were at any given time.

WSG Cooperative & Positive Safety

Solutions for monitoring employees working alone.

WSG provides a safety solution that gives employees back ownership of their health and safety. Whether they are working alone all the time, or they are in and out of the office for offsite meetings or inspections, the WSG safety app provides a practical solution.

With the app, employees are monitored when they choose to be. If there is no alert activated or overdue safety timer running, then there is no monitoring of their location. It is putting the power back in the hands of employees and building on a culture of mutual trust. Staff are trusted to use the app if the situation arrises and employees know their every move isn’t monitored. Smartphones are such a common part of day-to-day life the app is always there if employees need it. It’s available, functional, and proactive safety.

The world may well hate change but we have to keep striving for it if we’re ever to achieve progress. Progress towards less invasive and more engaging tools.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like some more information.

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