Companies need to heed stress caused by remote working

Lack of interaction can put a strain on employees - employers' responsibilities
09 May 2022
Remote working

Remote working can put a psychological strain on employees owing to a lack of social contacts with the team or unclear boundaries between living and working, according to the Hamburg-based TÜV Nord MediTÜV. But what exactly do employers have to consider as remote working arrangements become more everyday?

Companies' obligations

The distinction between teleworking and mobile working is crucial, said Tiana-Christin Schuck, a psychologist at TÜV Nord MediTÜV in Altona. Employers of telecommuting jobs must conduct a risk assessment and equip the workplace fully. The risk of social isolation for employees who live alone should also be examined. Occupational health and safety requirements for mobile working, which is much more widespread, are far lower and only the Occupational Health and Safety Act applies. "However, companies should also conduct a risk assessment for mobile working and pay particular attention to psychological stress, as stress factors can change significantly," said Shuck. Employers can train their own employees or hire external experts to do so.

Role of corporate culture decisive

Corporate culture also plays an important role in terms of stress. "How do members of the team talk to each other, how is informal exchange maintained, how are absences communicated and are there individual solutions for different life situations?" Employers who heed these issues and strive to find workable solutions need not worry about the performance of employees who work remotely. On the contrary: "Companies with a healthy corporate culture often benefit from remote working."