The COVID-19 pandemic created an immediate need for many employees to work from home.
Many people do not have space in their home to accommodate working in a home office. Workers have had to get creative to find a private place to work from. Cars have become a popular, makeshift office for many working from home.
How Did Cars Become Office Space?
Privacy is a problem for working parents. Children home from school requiring continuous supervision and attention limits a parent’s ability to work uninterrupted.
Other workers don’t have strong Wi-Fi or internet connections in their homes. They are forced to drive to locations where public Wi-Fi is available when they need to talk without fear of a dropped call or to participate in a conference.
Meetings and Conferences
Many jobs require attendance at meetings and conferences. Employees often work as teams requiring continuous communications and sharing of data.
Some companies that had not previously embraced telecommuting have been forced to establish programs to maintain their operations. They quickly set up online video conferencing, so they could continue doing business uninterrupted.
Driving While Video Conferencing
Most drivers would not consider watching television or using video streaming services while driving. Some users may believe that video conferencing is allowed while driving as long as it is hands free. Truth is, most states ban videos for the driver, hands free or not. It is much more dangerous than an audio only format. Video conferencing is dangerous even if the driver is only listening. The distraction of the multi-user communication can take the driver’s concentration away from the road.
Another concern about driving while using a video conferencing app is employer liability.
Employers should have clear policies about when and how to safely use communication technology. Policies should cover expectations about what constitutes the workday and what activities the employee can participate in while working from home. They should prohibit video conferencing from a moving vehicle.
The shift from running an office-based business to a telecommuting environment may have left many employers with minimal, if any, policies.
Telecommuting does not remove employer liability for actions of their employees. According to the National Safety Council, many employers have been held liable for crashes involving their employees using cell phones.
There are many liabilities that come with the changes in the workforce and use of new technologies due to COVID-19. Contact our office for assistance managing your risk.