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Flexible work spaces open up possibility for workplace injuries

The days of aspiring to the big corner officer are gone, as many workspaces do away with walls and doors entirely. Employees are less focused on the space and more on the work, and as technology enables more flexible work arrangements, the need for offices and desks and filing cabinets goes by the wayside.

Many employers are benefitting from lower infrastructure costs and higher productivity that comes from flexible work arrangements. However, with the office expanding to be anywhere we need it to be, workplace injuries could potentially happen at home, on a plane, at a coffee shop, or anywhere else with a Wi-Fi signal and an outlet.

Since the options for a viable workspace are almost unlimited, employers may also be thinking about the insurance and possible workers’ compensation costs associated with a changing environment. If an employee is injured by a dangerous condition at the office, the employer is clearly responsible, but what about a dangerous condition when the employee is working out of a local café?

The café might be partially liable on a premises liability claim for not keeping the area safe, but the issue still remains that the employee was on the job at the time and it could be considered a workplace injury.

Still, teleworking and flexible work spaces are seen as an advantage overall, not only because of the cost savings. The flexible workspaces may also help decrease instances of repetitive stress injuries or health problems associated with sitting in one space for long periods of time.

Source: USA Today, “The office is shrinking as tech creates workplace everywhere,” Haya El Nasser, June 5, 2012.

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