Crockers Property Management praise the simplicity and usability of the StaySafe smartphone app as they roll out the solution to protect their lone working staff
Why did Crockers launch StaySafe?
Property management always entails working externally from the office for a large part of any week, and it’s very common to be in other peoples homes or properties alone. Crockers recognised that their employees could be at risk when having to conduct home visits, and began searching for a suitable safety solution to counter this.
Back in 2017 as part of an overall system and process review, Crockers began implementing a remote working protocol for their team. This was to allow them the flexibility to work from home before or after external appointments, negating the need to come into the office. This new system meant that employees were spending large parts of the day lone working.
Prior to this, the team used to check in and out with reception or team members. However, the new remote working system meant that the company may not see some people for days at a time. As a property management agency with nearly 4000 properties across greater Auckland, and thousands of external appointments every year, it was imperative that they were able to know where their employees were, and give them the security that if things went wrong, there was a process in place to locate employees and assist if needed.
After scoping several different lone worker apps, Joseph Schellack, General Manager at Crockers explains that the company were impressed with the simplicity and usability of the StaySafe solution with everyone being able to operate it with ease. Crockers required a solution that was easy to use and functioned when in and out of phone data coverage and StaySafe met these criteria.
How StaySafe helped:
- Personalised customer service and easy implementation
- Reliability in areas of low signal
- Unique and reliable ways of raising an alert when faced with an aggressor
- Man down alerts
Once Crockers made the decision to go ahead with StaySafe as their lone worker solution, Joseph explains how the company adjusted to the app:
“Roll out of the app was very simple, the staff members found it easy and convenient to use and we were well supported by our Auckland representative. Having rolled out multiple IT solutions and processes around our remote working solution for the team, I can categorically state that the StaySafe implementation was the easiest by far”.
”Not only does Staysafe allow us to know where our staff are if an incident were to occur and help us fulfil our safety requirements, it has also given our team more comfort knowing that if the worst were to happen, we would be notified and the appropriate help sent over immediately. Although not expressed until after Staysafe had been in place a few months, it became evident that previously there were some concerns in the minds of the team that no-one would know where they were if things went bad for them. StaySafe helped give employees reassurance.”
Despite not seeing some members of the team for prolonged periods of time, Crockers now have full visibility of where they are and the confidence in knowing that they can respond quickly to any situation that puts a team member at risk, whilst workers appreciate the support and peace of mind.
About Crockers Property Management
Crockers Property Management is one of New Zealand’s largest property management groups, working in both the residential and commercial space. Crockers provides a wide range of property services to their clients whether that be growing their rental investment portfolio, organising long term maintenance plans, valuing their property, maximising the returns on investment properties, selling their apartment, or providing up-to-date market research.
When we think of lone workers we usually imagine those working in complete isolation such as a security guard manning a building at night, or a farmer working out in the middle of a field. However, while this may be true for many, lone working doesn’t always mean being completely alone.
Lone workers may very well operate in highly populated areas or alongside clients, customers and members of the public.
Narrowing our definition of lone workers down to those completely in isolation means that many of our employees are not being included in our lone worker policy and are not receiving the level of protection they need as a result.
So, what then constitutes lone working and how can we identify lone workers in our organization?
A lone worker is anyone working without the direct and immediate support of supervisors or colleagues. To put it simply, if an employee cannot be seen or heard by a colleague, they are lone working, whether that be for all or part of their working day.
Identifying your lone workers
Some of your lone workers will be easy to identify by assessing work patterns and roles. However, there may be times where you may not even be aware that your employees are lone working. It may be useful to talk to your employees and ask the below questions to identify any ‘hidden lone workers’ in your organization.
- Do colleagues work in different parts of a building or site? E.g. two cleaners working on different floors.
- If working on a noisy site, will a colleague be able to see/hear another colleague if they need help?
- Do your employees travel alone during working hours?
- Are there times where employees working as pairs will be separated? E.g. taking separate lunch breaks.
- Will any of your employees be left working alone if a colleague is on leave?
- Are there times where an employee is left to man the shop floor alone?
- Are single employees left working late in the office or other work sites?
Once lone working practices have been identified, it is important that you risk assess each of these situations and put measures in place to ensure your employees are safe.
Understanding the risks
There are of course different risks associated with the level of isolation that comes with lone working. Those out in a remote and completely isolated location are more exposed to environmental risks that could lead to an accident, while those working alongside members of the public or in client’s home are at higher risk of experiencing violence and aggression.
We have produced an infographic that outlines some of the different types of lone working, examples of different roles associated with such situations and the risks that they may face.
If you would like to discuss identifying or protecting your lone workers, please get in touch via our contact form.
Above the Line Security have improved the safety of their at-risk employees by switching from a manual call-in system to the user-friendly StaySafe lone worker solution. Employees at Above the Line Security are responsible for guarding individuals and high-value equipment on busy film sites.
Prone to theft and coming into contact with potentially volatile paparazzi and members of the public, the company required a more reliable way of monitoring the safety of their guards.
StaySafe allows workers on site to send an alert in an emergency while providing the employee with an accurate location via a real-time map. Monitors are alerted if an employee triggers an alert or fails to check-in on the app during their shift.
As technology is rapidly advancing, health and safety challenges are increasingly being solved with the assistance of smartphone apps. From providing quick information on the go to reliable monitoring, the ability of smartphones to harness new technologies allows businesses to access low cost, effective safety solutions.
For those working alone, this is particularly valuable as support from colleagues is not always readily available. Yet with 85% of adults in the UK owning a smartphone, support from a mobile device is.
So in what ways can advancements in mobile technology aid the safety of lone workers? Read more
Garmin inReach mini offers a smaller, lighter satellite communication device with 100% global coverage through Iridium’s satellite network.
The new mini device offers much of the same functionality as the larger Garmin inReach, and provides all of the core functionality of the StaySafe app. It will even allow a lone worker to trigger a panic alarm from a connected Garmin watch, and to exchange messages with a monitor using their watch too.
Accurate location tracking allows remote workers to be monitored from the StaySafe Hub, while an SOS panic allows them to signal for help in an emergency. If a panic alert is triggered on the device, StaySafe will notify a monitor immediately, allowing an organisation to take action.
Leading renewable energy company, BeBa Energy, have implemented the StaySafe app to protect their lone workers who operate remotely on solar farms.
Working over a large worksite and facing a range of environmental risks, the company found that monitoring the safety and whereabouts of their employees, was proving difficult. By switching from a buddy system to a reliable mobile app, Beba Energy is able to ensure that their renewable energy specialists can be monitored while they work and always have a way to signal for help when in need of assistance.
Sexual harassment in the workplace can take many forms and is shockingly more common than we realise, equally impacting both men and women.
Statistics show that 83 million people have experienced sexual harassment from the age of 15, with 50% of women and 20% of men experiencing sexual harassment at work. Despite these shocking statistics, many more instances of sexual harassment in the workplace still go unnoticed, unreported and subsequently, unresolved.
Forms of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment can range from mild to more extreme forms and can be written, verbal and physical. These range from unwanted comments and discrimination, emails with sexual content, sexual advances, intimidation, unwanted physical contact and assault. All forms should be taken equally as seriously and dealt with immediately by employers.
Although sexual harassment can occur at any time and in any location, there is a greater risk to lone working employees, particularly when working late, out of hours and often out of sight where signalling for help can be challenging.
Lone workers are also at high risk when undertaking visits behind closed-doors, where they could face volatile behaviour and aggression from clients, tenants and abusive members of the public. Commonly, roles which involve lone workers visiting homes without any attendance include; care workers, charity workers, family officers, NHS staff, surveyors and real estate workers.
There are also lone workers who are required to deal with members of the public under the influence of alcohol and drugs or suffering from emotional issues which can cause a change in behaviour. Without the appropriate care and training, individuals can be left particularly vulnerable in one on one situations.
Consequences of sexual harassment
- Stress reaction including anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, lowered self-esteem and more
- Poor company morale
- Less productivity in staff
- Creates an environment for sexual harassment to flourish
By violating the dignity of a worker, sexual harassment can ultimately create an environment of an intimidating, hostile and degrading nature.
What can be done?
Sadly, many cases of sexual harassment go unreported due to workers feeling unable to challenge or defend themselves against the perpetrator if they are in fact a client. As a result, as much as 53% of women and 69% of men did not report sexual harassment at work.
Cases of sexual harassment may not be reported by staff if they do not feel confident that there is substantial support from their company put in place, creating a barrier for them to take action.
The effects of sexual harassment are monumental and even as little as one instance can have detrimental knock-on consequences to both the company and their staff if not investigated properly and dealt with. Therefore, this is why it is so important to educate and train your staff.
Educating and training staff can be achieved through a strong Sexual Harassment policy to ensure the workplace is free of discrimination. Training sessions should also be arranged for employers to ask questions and be as informed as possible on the matter in order to provide reassurance and instil confidence so that they can be prepared and take the necessary response if faced with this situation.
As an employer, you should seek to have a work environment that is understanding and sympathetic to all employees, including dynamic risk assessment training to evaluate risks and how to overcome them.
You should also make it clear who to report incidents of sexual harassment to and reinforce the idea that employees experiences will be taken seriously.
Lone Worker Safety Solution
A safety solution in the form of an app should be highly considered, as it enables a lone worker to signal for help even in difficult situations. This kind of solution can reassure both the company and their staff by providing accurate and reliable safety monitoring through alert functionality and location updates.
If an employee feels threatened whilst working remotely or otherwise, they can raise an alarm secretly and unknown to their attacker by inputting a special duress PIN. This will fool the attacker into thinking the app has been disabled when in fact a duress alert has been raised in the Hub and help can be sent immediately.
Generated by pressing the phones power button, a user can raise a panic alert swiftly and discreetly from a hidden area, such as a bag or pocket.
The StaySafe app can even be paired with a bluetooth button which can be attached to a lanyard, clothing or worn around the wrist, and used send a panic alert without touching their phone.
While safety measures, policies and training are essential in protecting employees from sexual harassment and assault, a lone worker app is a reliable way of ensuring a lone worker is never completely alone.
Housing Association Aspire Housing launched StaySafe to oversee the safety of their lone workers when visiting potentially dangerous neighbourhoods and properties.
Aspire Housing is made up of three strands; Aspire Housing, PM Training and Realise Charity. Lone working is common practice in both the Housing and Charity strands, where employees regularly visit homes and properties alone.
Housing employees visit homes to support clients as well as carrying out repairs and maintenance operations, while lone workers operating in the charity strand meet with and support young people.
Working across a range of environments and often behind closed doors, Aspire recognised that their employees could be exposed to a number of risks on a daily basis. While safety has always been a priority, Aspire identified that the dedicated device they had in place had become outdated and was no longer fit for purpose. As a result, Aspire undertook a review of the other solutions available and decided to trial StaySafe. Trial users responded positively to the new software and Aspire felt that StaySafe provided the most cost-effective and user-friendly solution for their staff.
Hafod Housing are a not-for-profit organisation, providing affordable housing, care and support across South East Wales. Managing over 4,000 homes, Hafod Housing rely on a team of lone workers operating over a range of roles; from maintenance surveyors to caretakers and housing officers.
Lone workers at Hafod Housing are largely public facing and are frequently required to make visits independently to properties. Hafod works with some of the most vulnerable people in the community and do not always have the opportunity to meet and assess residents before housing them. Due to the nature of their work, Hafod’s housing officers are at higher risk of antisocial behaviours such as violence and aggression.
Those working to maintain properties regularly use ladders, heavy tools and carry out work on roofs and other potentially unstable structures. The risks they face tend to be more environmental as they are exposed to common workplace risks such as slips, trips and falls.