In Rare Form: Field Service and Risk Management

  • August 30, 2022
  • The Youreka Team

The business world has gotten better at managing the day-to-day changes created by the seismic shift to remote and hybrid work, but remote work still presents unique challenges. Even employees who are not working on-site are subject to safety concerns.

Organizations must ensure safety compliance measures are met regardless of where employees perform their work. Employees who work from home are no longer in the controlled environment of their worksite. Home offices may lack the fundamental safety measures of the official worksite, including smoke detectors, ergonomic equipment, security protocols, and even required breaks during the day.

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined it will not conduct safety inspections in work-from-home situations, it also maintains that employers remain responsible for safe working conditions, regardless of the worker’s location. This apparent discrepancy causes difficulties in creating and establishing safety mandates and check-ins. State workers’ compensation laws generally cover accidents that happen in the home while the employee is working, but it may be difficult to enforce workplace conduct requirements when employees are remote.

Loss of institutional knowledge

Preserving organizational knowledge presents another challenge, especially in an era of rapid disruption and change. As the workforce changes, original training and focus can be lost or forgotten. Organizations spend a lot of time developing and curating knowledge and capabilities. Over time, some of this institutional knowledge gets translated into procedure and policy, but much of it resides in the heads and hearts of individuals — and as those individuals relocate, retire, or move into new jobs, that knowledge can be lost.

Most large organizations experience these dynamics, resulting in the loss of the informal, people-based institutional knowledge that is so crucial to success. But there are ways to preserve that knowledge:

  • Establish a clear strategy. Develop a strategy for maintaining institutional knowledge. Don’t assume that information will be passed along organically; your team’s institutional knowledge will atrophy over time if you don’t have a plan to commit knowledge to an accessible and secure source.
  • Identify key components of your knowledge base. Determine the key ideas and capabilities that you need every team member to know or understand, and turn this information into an explicit expectation. Proficiency in these core components can then be incorporated into your onboarding process and provided to existing employees in refresher sessions.
  • Leverage technology to create a curation process. Leverage technology to empower and enable your team members to capture, update, and curate institutional knowledge, including important terms, procedures, history, and policies.

Shifting risks

Today’s work environment has brought broad changes and new challenges in risk management. When work environments change, as many businesses experienced through the shift from in-person to remote or hybrid working environments, so do some risk factors. Given these changes, it may be time to reassess your risk management process. Follow these four simple steps for an effective assessment:

Step 1: Risk identification. The first step in an effective risk management process is to identify all events that can affect the objectives of a project, negatively or positively. Look at project milestones, financial trajectory, and the scope of your business. Have there been changes related to shifts in the company work dynamic? To be managed effectively, risks and opportunities must be identified as precisely and specifically as possible.

Step 2: Risk assessment. Assessing risk should consider both a qualitative and quantitative assessment. A qualitative assessment assesses the level of urgency based on the probability and perceived impact of the event. A quantitative assessment examines the fiscal impact or benefit. Both types of information are essential to deliver a comprehensive evaluation.

Step 3: Risk treatment. The purpose of a risk treatment plan is to reduce the likelihood that the risk will occur with preventive action, or if it does occur, reduce the risk’s impact with mitigation action. In the case of an opportunity, the goal of the treatment plan is to increase the probability that the opportunity will occur, and if it does occur, to increase its benefits.

Step 4: Risk monitoring and reporting. Risks, opportunities, and their respective treatment plans must be monitored and reported on to increase visibility and encourage proactive action. Develop a structure that will ensure appropriate avenues for escalation and application of appropriate risk responses.

The way businesses and employees work has changed and will likely continue to evolve. Change is inevitable, but technology can support your company’s safety and risk management measures.

Contact Youreka today for your company’s custom demo of dynamic form solutions for risk management.

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