Increasing costs, staff shortages and supply chain delays are leading to an “aggression epidemic” according to staff safety experts, Safepoint. They claim that their new app is uniquely capable of providing the support that workers need while keeping up with a more flexible workforce.
Covid, cost of living, and the aggression epidemic
The combined effects of Covid and the cost of living crisis have created unprecedented risks for businesses and employees, says lone working experts Safepoint.
Safepoint explains how many businesses are unprepared for the complexities of protecting and overseeing their remote workers during, what they’re calling, an “aggression epidemic”. Moreover, they claim that traditional lone working solutions “don’t stack up” to these new challenges.
What are the risks for lone workers and their employers in 2022?
Safepoint points to two new challenges that have emerged since the Covid pandemic. Firstly, the increase in remote and flexible work has meant that many businesses are finding it difficult to protect their staff, meet lone working legislation, and even keep track of where their staff are or what they’re doing.
Before the pandemic, the rate of people working from home for part of the week was just 12%. Now it is at 38%. While Safepoint welcomes more flexibility and choice in how staff choose to work, they warn that businesses may not have considered how to monitor their staff’s safety when they are not based at their workplace.
The second challenge is the rate of aggression and violence that has been building over the pandemic and the subsequent cost of living crisis. Increasing costs, staff shortages, waiting times, and supply chain delays have resulted in increasing customer aggression across many industries.
Customer-facing roles across healthcare, retail, and customer service are all experiencing growing rates of abuse and violence. One NHS trust saw a 20% increase in violent attacks against its staff last year, while retail saw a one-third increase in assaults.
Safepoint’s CEO, Callum Coombes, comments that “We are seeing unprecedented levels of aggressive behaviour directed at our frontline staff. Rates of abuse and violence are up across the board. At the same time, more people are working remotely, on their own or in smaller teams. We think this increased flexibility can be a good thing, but it does make it harder to keep track of staff members, and to meet health and safety legislation.”
Furthering the point, Callum states that traditional lone working solutions have “failed to keep pace” with changing patterns in working and that Safepoint’s new lone working app provides a “unique solution to keeping staff safe and organised”.
The first lone working and team management app
Safepoint is one of the leading lone working solutions in the UK and have provided staff protection for the NHS, Mitsubishi, Michelin, and Specsavers.
Since 2017, they have provided a three-part system: smart alarms through their apps and wearable devices; 24/7 monitoring via their Alarm Receiving Centre; and a desktop-based web portal for keeping track of everyone.
This year, however, Safepoint have completely rebuilt their lone working app to reflect the rising popularity of remote and home workers and to keep frontline staff safe through the aggression epidemic.
With their new lone worker app, Safepoint have expanded their lone working functionality and have added a powerful –and beautifully designed– team management system. Through the team map, task breakdowns, and live profiles, the new system is intended to keep workers protected and productive throughout the day, no matter when, where or how they’re working.
Development of the new app has been headed up by Safepoint CTO James Rogers, who says that being the first company to truly combine team management with lone worker protection has really changed how their customers use the app.
“Say I’m out and about and I need help with a job”, James explains, “I can open Safepoint and see that my colleague Jen is just down the road. I simply tap her icon, check what she’s working on and when she’ll be finished. I can then bring up her number and give her a call –all from the app.”
Handling emergency alerts on the go
With Safepoint’s 24/7 monitoring service, GuardianPlus, all alarms (which can be triggered manually, or automatically if the worker has taken a fall or becomes unresponsive) are handled by Safepoint’s team of professional responders.
Safepoint’s new app retains the GuardianPlus features that their customers love while also making it easier for team leaders to keep track of these emergency responses. Just by looking at the app, users can instantly see that an alert has been triggered and how it is being handled by a GuardianPlus responder. It even allows those team leaders to “take over” at any point, with access to the worker’s task history, phone status and live location.
Safer workers, happier team
Safepoint has always believed that lone worker safety shouldn’t be a box-ticking exercise. They say that Safepoint’s new app is about more than “triggering alarms” and “checking in”; it’s about empowering people to work flexibly and independently, while still being protected and connected.
Safepoint says that the “interesting part” is seeing how companies will use the new features.
“We’re already seeing clients use the new app in ways we couldn’t have predicted” concluded Safepoint’s CEO, “whether it’s tracking deliveries or making sure a security team is properly distributed, we’re seeing just how helpful this app can be. And, at the same time, workers are feeling safer. That’s a win-win for us!”