A rapidly growing economy and a modern world brings with it a range of advantages and benefits. But the risks should not be forgotten about either. As today’s workplace becomes more increasingly sophisticated the dangers begin to stack up to.

Machine learning, virtual/augmented reality, the Internet of Things and much more are all beginning to become commonplace in our lives.

Here are some of what we predict to be the biggest trends for 2018 and how you can embrace them, to maintain a modern and safe work place.

1. Artificial Intelligence

Whilst it may reduce overheads and increase efficiency, artificial still has some distance to go before it can do everything that a worker does. This, however, hasn’t stopped anxiety and, in some cases, even depression creeping in amongst the ranks of good old-fashioned human employees!

The threat of losing your job is always going to cause stress and worry so it’s worth taking time to reassure employees that their futures are secure. By doing this you will continue to keep them happy in their roles and ensure productivity doesn’t drop.

2. Remote Working

The chance for flexible working from hot desks and home boosts employee morale and means the world becomes your office; enabling company’s to recruit the best person for the job, regardless of their location.

However, problems can arise when individuals come back in to the workspace (such as a central office), aren’t familiar with the surroundings, and haven’t been fully briefed on the health and safety procedures.

You can help avoid this by issuing handbooks, even to those that aren’t spending time in the office. It’s also worth considering where you’re liability as an employer ends, particularly for those who may be traveling or working from a remote space.

3. Digi and Tech Continues to Impact our Health

The digital industry is booming and shows no signs of slowing down. But such a sedentary style of working brings with it a range of threats. Particularly eye strain and damaged vision brought on by long stints spent looking at screens and concentrating on small details. Obesity and coronary issues can also arise as a result of working long hours.

Additionally, using a mouse and keyboard can lead to painful bouts of RSI. To help combat all of these complications it’s advisable to allow employees regular breaks, while providing them with a workstation that is set up to health and safety standards.

You could also look at the possibility of running fitness classes for those that want to participate before and after work or during lunch hours.

4. Resistance to Medicine

There’s a growing resistance to medicine from some strains of flu. I’m sure everyone remembers Aussie Flu that swept through workplaces wreaking havoc in 2017. Having one ill employee in the office can quickly lead to a heavily depleted staff force, which can have untold consequences on a business.

Some forms of infections have begun to establish a resistance as well including tuberculosis and pneumonia. Ensure general hygiene in the office and encourage employees to take sick days where necessary.

5. Automation and Machine Learning

Self-operating machines can be dangerous and unless employees are correctly trained they may lead to serious injury. Bringing with it the potential of financial repercussions, not to mention the human element. Ensure that all those responsible for operating machinery are correctly trained and know exactly what to do in the unfortunate event of an accident.

Now your business is better prepared for risks that might challenge them this year, make sure you are adequately covered and have the right plans in place to prevent issues before they arise.

Chris Jacobsen

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