Lone working and staying in touch
Working alone can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation or stress. We encourage you to take active steps to look after your mental health. Check out our wellbeing toolkit for ideas and support.
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Work has changed dramatically for all of us over the past few weeks and will continue to do so in the near future. Many of us are used to working in teams and are having to adapt to either working at home or lone working or both.
As a lone worker, your line manager should be taking steps to ensure you are:
- provided with support and training
- kept in regular contact with them and the rest of the team
- safe from work-related violence
Make sure you’re having regular, meaningful conversations with your manager, to make sure they’re able to help keep you safe and supported.
You should carry out your own personal assessment before undertaking any activity which involves working alone.
This should include considering the following:
- do you know where your work location is?
- do you have enough information on the situation you are going to?
- is there a lone working risk assessment for the task?
- do you have the protective equipment you may need?
- do you require specialist equipment?
- are there any specific controls for the task?
- does someone on your team know the location you are going to?
- do you have a means of communicating with that person or others?
- have you booked out and informed someone on your team of any time restrictions or issues?
- do you know what to do should an accident/incident occur?
- make yourself aware of any risk assessments / safe systems of work (procedures) for that particular activity and any controls in place to minimise the risks identified
- before starting work, if you feel that something is wrong, do not start the task, but report back to your line manager to seek clarification or advice.
The following top tips for safer lone working from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust may also be useful:
- some form of emergency alarm system should be in place which will enable you to summon assistance if necessary. Is it tested? Do people know how to respond?
- make sure that any cash is kept out of sight
When working from home:
- try not to advertise that you work from home to prospective clients
- consider setting up a buddy system with someone so they know your plans for the day
- think about asking your buddy to call you 10 minutes into any meeting with a new client to check that you are ok and feel comfortable with them. Have a predetermined code word ready in case you want to summon help
- if clients have to come to your house, use rooms that are as professional looking as possible
- give some thought before you arrive as to what exit strategies you could use if you felt uncomfortable or threatened
- conduct your own risk assessment on the doorstep before you enter. If you feel at all uncomfortable or unsure, make an excuse and leave. Trust your instincts
- be mindful of the fact that you are entering someone else’s territory. Your presence there may be unwanted and/or pose a threat
- as you enter, make a note of how the door opens and closes so that you can leave quickly, if necessary
- give the client an idea of how long the meeting will take and try to adhere to this.
You can find tips on managing other people’s emotions and challenging conversations. There's a Personal Safety e-learning module available on Learning Online.
Staying in touch
Our working from home through coronavirus toolkit has lots of handy tips on how to stay in touch and fight isolation by making sure that you're still able to meet and chat with your team in a casual setting.