Home inspections rare, but not unheard of

Employer inspections of home offices are rare, but some employers do go that route, say some telecommuting professionals. A better solution might be photographic proof that the office is safe.

Home inspections are a relatively new trend in telecommuting, says Robert Moskowitz, president of the American Telecommuting Association, an advocacy group for telecommuters in Washington, DC.

Most employers are unwilling to enter a private home for a safety inspection, but more companies have been willing to make that move in recent years, he says. Some employers like the idea of home inspections because it allows them to say that they discharged their obligations and made a good faith effort to make sure the workplace is safe and healthy, he explains.

Other companies have found success with using photographic proof that the home office is safe. Some companies have a provision in their telecommuting agreement that the worker will provide photos that show the home office meets the standards.

For instance, the telecommuter must provide multiple photographs of the home office that show the proper type of chair, desk, and accessories. The photos might show the type of lighting, overall views that would include stray wires and clutter, and photos of the worker sitting at the desk in an ergonomically sound position.

[For more information, contact:

• Robert Moskowitz, The American Telecom-muting Association, 1220 L St. N.W., Suite 100, Washington, DC 20005. Telephone: (800) 282-4908.]