Health and Safety Risks for Digital Nomads
There has been a global metamorphosis in working practices since the outbreak of COVID-19. With the support of new technologies, many people no longer commute and work from nine to five. A huge number of companies arranged for employees to work from home while under the restrictions of lockdown. One result has been a speeding-up of the development of the age of the digital nomad.
What is a digital nomad?
A nomad was traditionally a wanderer, someone who travelled from place to place seeking fresh pasture for their herds. It’s a lifestyle that many people of today have adapted to their needs since technology freed them from their desks. Digital nomads are typically people with a passion for travel, which they can satisfy without having to sacrifice a steady income. Working from airport lounges, beach bars, or even mum’s kitchen, digital nomads take their work wherever they go. They can be self-employed or freelance, but many are also choosing to stay with their company and just work from a distance. This way, everyone is safer, and often, more productive.
Health and Safety Risks
You’ll need to ensure that your workers comply with physical health and safety rules, including the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulations. They must continue to maintain good posture, restrict their screen hours and take regular breaks to ease any visual and musculoskeletal strain. If they’re travelling overseas, you’ll also have to inform and/or protect your employees against the risks of unfamiliar food, unclean water and tropical diseases. This may mean you have to modify your insurance package to include global travel.
Travelling frequently around the post-pandemic world will involve a lot of health checks. Digital nomads need to be aware of each country’s specific COVID-19 regulations and what vaccinations are required. Certificates may have to be produced at ports of entry, and additional paperwork like Passenger Locator Forms may be necessary. If all (or many) of your workers are digital nomads, you may well want to appoint a competent person to coordinate your health and safety obligations.
Other safety concerns for employers
Many businesses have provided workers with the opportunity to work from anywhere, and sometimes the equipment with which to do so. You’ll want to send them emails, briefs and files, and be hooked up to a video conferencing app to conduct reviews and team meetings. You can invest in software packages that will help your employees better manage their time and share information with colleagues.
You must also invest in enhanced protection for your computer networks. Since you’ll be exchanging potentially sensitive and business-critical information online, you need to be sure that it can’t be accessed by malicious third parties. Digital nomads must use a VPN when accessing different public networks, and they’ll need proper training on passwords and data management. You’ll need to embed a strong encryption protocol, powerful antivirus software and a secure backup for your data – plus an emergency recovery plan if things go wrong.
Looking after employees working globally can be complex and demanding. We’re happy to offer advice or assistance with your health and safety management procedures to accommodate these changes.