May 21st is National Bike to Work Day. Originating in 1955 as a means to promote safety on the road for all commuters, it grew into an environmentally positive choice as well. But now, when so many of us are ‘commuting’ into the spare bedroom or home office to work, how does that affect the bicycle industry and what clever way will I relate this to your small business and its employees?
Well, let’s start with some jobs for which a bicycle is necessary:
- courier or messenger
- tour guide
- pedicab driver
- laundry delivery (believe me, food delivery with a bike can be messy)
- bicycle mover (a neat furniture moving option but limited to Sweden)
- bike bar (like the 50’s waitresses on roller skates!)
OK, there are some interesting business opportunities but really not so great in bad weather. So, the question remains: how do I relate this to Human Resources?
Here’s how: when your employee is travelling on behalf of your business – whether by car, bus or bicycle – if, God forbid, something happens to that employee, to their means of travel, or if another person or property is injured due to your employee’s behavior, you’re liable.
When so many of your employees are now working at home and perhaps travelling no more than a flight of stairs, who’s responsible if they take a tumble while retrieving some work-related tools or documents? Who’s responsible if they see a prospect in their home and that person is bitten by a dog? True, the sale may be lost but what other injuries to your business will come out of your pocket or insurance?
Some of this needs to be addressed in your insurance policies. Others, in your operating manual (and with that manual we recommend a signed “yes, I read and understand it all” that you keep in each employee/contractor file).
It’s true that employer’s world over are considering changes to their work force and work environment; some employees may never go back to ‘the office’ and commercial real estate markets are reeling as a result.
But, back to your liabilities when your employee works from home: obviously, some areas need to be addressed with your insurance carrier and Montana Employment Labor Division. And, even within your own business, you’ll have some employees who’ll fight to keep working from home and others who can’t wait to get back to the workplace.
This transition – again, happening worldwide – will raise many questions about legality of claims, employee safety and employer liability. With the big picture in mind, your goal is to protect your business so it continues to both serve its constituents and evolves into the new way of being a safety-conscious employer. TogetHRconsulting.com is always focused on providing the current information to best serve you. So – don’t hesitate to give us a call (406-763-8877) about any questions regarding employee safety and, in the meantime, perhaps put a company bell on your team’s bicycles!
Join me on May 25th, in a webinar, when we’ll discuss “Avoiding fines, penalties and fees from improper HR record-keeping.” Sign up here, it’s FREE!