There are an estimated 8 million people in the United Kingdom that are lone workers, 22% of the 31.2m UK working population. For the past several years, lone working figures have continued to rise as more and more people make the swap from traditional site-based roles. A range of different factors have contributed to this rapid growth.
Increase in staff productivity with lone working and changing work patterns
The number of people working alone increases year on year as businesses look for ways to increase productivity, reduce costs and reach a wider customer base. Employing lone workers to carry out jobs traditionally done in pairs or teams, allows businesses to double their productivity without acquiring additional costs.
Advancements in technology has made it easier to work alone
The ability to hire more lone workers is largely down to advancements in technology and equipment, furthermore what would initially take 2 people to complete, is now a single person job. Contractors such as gas engineers, surveyors, plumbers and electricians are increasingly able to take on jobs alone as equipment can be carried and operated by a single employee.
Expanding the business through remote working
Companies are able to broaden their search for the best talent as workers may not need to come into head office. The business is able to expand without having to invest in additional premises which is particularly favoured amongst startups who may not have the finances available.
Reaching new business and acquiring new clients also becomes easier as companies can hire representatives in various locations. Tech companies that do a majority of their work online and on computers also tend to favour remote working as a more convenient and cost-effective choice.
Flexibility for employees
Another factor contributing to the rise in lone workers is the appeal of lone working for employees looking for more flexibility. Many individuals are looking to move away from the standard Monday to Friday office based way of working lone working roles provide a break from this.
Care workers, estate agents and engineers are amongst the roles that call for individuals to spend most of their day in different locations working alone. Many lone working employees have a much higher sense of flexibility and freedom as they are able to manage their own caseload and travel to new locations every day.
Lone working challenges – what are the risks?
Whilst there are obvious benefits to lone working for businesses and lone workers themselves, lone working also comes with several challenges.
While lone workers come against the same risk as more traditional employees, the risk of harm is heightened as any dangers they faced, are faced alone. Whether they find themselves in a confrontation or suffer an injury, lone workers are unable to receive immediate support from a nearby colleague.
Those working alone are also at higher risk of violence and aggression as they are seen as easier targets and often work closely with clients, behind closed doors and alongside unknown members of the public.
According to studies, lone workers are more susceptible to depression triggered by their working environment. Many lone workers lack interaction throughout the day and do not have the added support from co-workers available to them.
Employers have to consider the safety of their remote workers and many are investing in lone worker solution apps to help keep their employees safe whilst working alone.
StaySafe lone working solutions
StaySafe provides employers with a low cost, easy to use solution to managing the safety of their lone workers. Comprised of an app and online hub, StaySafe provides employers with real-time updates on employee’s safety status and location while they work.
StaySafe also allows regular communication between employee and employer through a session check-in feature, which can be customised according to the organisation’s needs.
The app includes a man down feature which can alert monitoring services if an employee has not moved or checked-in for a prolonged period of time. If an employee feels threatened or under attack, they can also raise an alarm discreetly by using the phone’s power button.
Additionally, inputting a unique duress pin will safeguard the employee if threatened by an attacker. The unique feature can be used to appear as if the app has been disabled when in actual fact a high priority alert is raised.
When an alert is raised by a lone worker, chosen monitors, either within the organisation or via a professional monitoring station will be alerted allowing them to verify the alert and dispatch the appropriate assistance to the employee.