When it's dark outside, it affects how people feel when they're alone; they may open up, lock up, or continue working late. Staff may not say anything but important for their wellbeing and confidence.
Suitable lighting is an important aspect to make staff feel comfortable, especially during the longer nights?
When it comes to the looking after employees, especially when it's quieter in the office, there are several points to consider.
- How good is the lighting in the office?
- Did you know that lighting might have an effect on mental health?
- Identifying the hazards in the office before working late and on your own.
- What should you do if the power goes out?
- Rules regarding working alone and risk assessments.
In the UK, it begins to become darker earlier, a times starting 3.30pm.
At this time of year, it is even more critical that your business has adequate lighting to cover the workspace, especially when employees are left working alone in the office.
According to HR DEPT in their article back in 2018 it stated that when it comes to health and safety in the workplace, slips trips and falls are the most common hazards across all work places. According to HSE reporting this accounts for around 30% of workplace injuries. They also mention a few more health and safety hazards in their article here - https://www.hrdept.co.uk/blog/five-common-office-health-safety-hazards/
Daylight verse artificial lighting changes how, especially trip, hazards are seen.
Lighting & Mental Health
Bad lighting can impact staff both physically and mentally. Conditions such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), fatigue, stress, anxiety, headaches and eye strain.
Serious SAD symptoms might include:
- Chronic bad mood a lack of joy or interest in ordinary daily tasks
- Emotions of despair, remorse, and worthlessness feeling sluggish (lack of energy) and tired during the day
- Sleeping for longer than usual and having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning wanting
- Craving carbs and gaining weight
These symptoms can be severe for some people and have a substantial influence on their daily activities - Learn more about SAD symptoms.
According to Pragya Agarwal's article 40% of office workers are struggling to work in poor lighting every day. This has a negative effect on their productivity and wellbeing.
Many businesses seem unprepared for emergency situations such as power cuts.
When there is a power outage, companies come to a screeching halt. We all know it is critical to secure your servers in the event of a power loss, but it is equally critical to have processes in place to other core IT and electrical equipment working if possible. It's not just emergency lighting you need to cover.
Depending on the extent of the power outage, external public Internet and mobile phone signals may also be disrupted. When working alone this could be particularly dangerous so don't leave this communication route as your only fall back.
Hazards always seem to be lurking just around the corner at any workplace. Of course it's best to identify these before it's too late and an employee seriously hurts themselves. So don't just think about how hazards are seen on a beautiful sunny day.
How different is an uneven or wet floor if it's suddenly not illuminated they way it normally is?
How many times have you assessed something at different times of the day and evening?
- Is the staircase lighting consistent, with no dark areas. ?
- Carry out all repairs promptly.
- Are all walkways ALWAYS clear from potential trip hazards?
- Always enforce keeping "portable" items like boxes, folders, or bags out of through routes, even around desking.
- It sounds simple but always switch the light entering a darkened room. How many falls happen because you think you'll be fine!
- Keep areas around light switches clear and easily accessible.
- Always encourage safe workplace procedures such as shutting filing cabinet drawers, cleaning up unwanted things on the floor.
It's important to do a risk assessment with your employees in the workplace. Especially for lone workers.
The HSE provide a great risk assessment for office-based businesses here - https://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/office.pdf
If you do allow staff to work alone, especially when it's dark outside, make sure they are confident in doing so. MyTeamSafe® can handle a variety of events...
- Panic - If you are involved in an accident or need to trigger a panic alarm, you can do so at any time.
- Check-in - During normal operation, everyone simply checks in on a regular basis to confirm that they are safe.
- Late - If there is an incident and can't press panic, MyTeamSafe will know that you have not checked-in and will automatically escalate your situation.
If you do not check in on time, your supervisor will be alerted that you are late. This allows him/her to respond swiftly and check your last location before deciding what course of action to take.
For example, in a higher-risk role you could be required to check in every 20 minutes. Your supervisor will be automatically contacted if you are late. This gives your supervisor the opportunity to quickly react. Maybe by calling directly or contacting other staff who are working nearby.
You can assign your lone working strategy to your whole company, a group, or specific staff member.
It takes less than 15 minutes get setup and go live. A simple phone app with quick check-in at user defined intervals or Panic Alarm. Keep control with total flexibility. Suitable for all sizes of business. Central web dashboard allows you to manage & monitor users as well as their locations. MyTeamSafe even has documentations to help you setup your company in a more effective way which can benefit you and your business.
Staff feel significantly safer knowing their health and wellbeing is core consideration at all times. Apart from covering your corporate responsibility, staff are much more productive, with reduced absence if they feel they are valued and looked after. Even a minor incident can have a knock on impact on everyone’s health, trust and confidence in the company. MyTeamSafe ensures staff always feel safer when working independently. If an incident does occur it is managed by someone the person knows, not an impersonal call centre that doesn’t know the situation.