9 April 2020

Working from home at HBF

Many FSU members have contacted the Union seeking information or advice on Working From Home

We are working in very different circumstances since COVID-19 invaded our world. The government restrictions to address the pandemic have caused many of us to now Work From Home (WFH). This new situation has brought many questions from members, who have contacted the Union seeking information or advice on the following matters.

The questions were raised with HBF and their answers are below.

FSU questions and HBF’s answers on WFH

  • I am worried about the lack of an ergonomic work station. Without the proper desktop hardware and particularly desk chairs I have heard others are already experiencing OH&S issues. Will HBF audit employees’ WFH office set up and when will the appropriate items be provided?
    HBF: We have already issued monitors, keyboard and mouse to anyone who wanted to come and collect one from Head office. There was a collection point open on Friday, Sunday and Monday for employees to collect the necessary items. If there are still people needing this equipment they should contact us and we can organise that for them. There has been some requests for chairs and we are couriering out chairs to people who have raised an issue about their current chair at home. HBF also offers virtual ergonomic assessments which people can book onto via the Pulse. We will organise for the right equipment to get to people safely as it is identified in those assessments or as people identify themselves. There is a checklist people can use to self-assess their set up and we have employees complete an online module on health and safety which includes ergonomic set up.
  • I used to work in a Branch but now WFH.  We had initially been advised we would WFH to assist the Call Centre (CC) with overflow calls. Now we are being told we are CC employees now.
    HBF: Their role is to continue to support members with their queries. The face to face option has been suspended at this time because we have closed branches to protect the safety of our employees after they raised concerns. We also considered the safety of our more vulnerable and elderly members who come into branches. They remain branch employees but suitable alternate work has been identified where they can continue to support members virtually. Our primary aim has been to ensure branch staff have work and activity that maintains their income but we appreciate that it is a different environment while the face to face service is unavailable. Some staff have chosen to take leave for some of the period which we have approved. If there are particular concerns we can work through them on a case by case basis if they chat to their manager or HR.
  • I am concerned that I may not have the necessary training or experience to look after our members and not risk breaches and performance management for not meeting CC Adherence to Schedule. Why am I being measured on a process that I have no experience in?
    HBF: The contact centre uses various measures to forecast volumes so they can roster the right amount of people on the calls and email to respond to members.  HBF is managing to respond to members queries really quickly and this is a key aim of our business.  It is at this difficult time that members are needing their health insurers to be available and support them with appropriate service and advice.
  • We are being pressured to adhere to Scheduling times but no allowance is provided for employees to take short breaks, stand up or stretch in order to ensure there is no adverse effect from WFH.
    HBF: A full time member of the contact centre (and those branch employees currently working in this environment) has one hour break scheduled made up of three sections (2×15 mins and 1×30 mins). They also are able to use 45 minutes throughout the day to get a coffee, hang up the washing, have a stretch etc as they wish.

As a result of your feedback and questions HBF has quickly responded by establishing further Leadership actions to check in with you to ensure there is a deeper understanding of “how you are going”.  Everyone WFH experiences different reactions and you should be very open with your feedback when it is sought.

If you are experiencing problems in your workplace, or in WFH with your workstation, contact the union on 1300 366 378 or email wa@fsunion.org.au.

Contact Details

Finance Sector Union
Ph: 1300 366 378

Authorised by Di Marshall, Secretary, WA Branch