Working from home safely and productively
We’re all facing unique and unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and it has fundamentally changed the way we work and live. Many of us are working in ways we’ve never had to before. While some people enjoy the opportunity to work from home it can be challenging for others. Some of the things people may find challenging include:
- limited space to work
- sharing your space with others
- not having the ideal IT or ergonomic equipment
- feeling isolated
- not being able to separate work from home.
This can make working from home both physically and mentally draining, but with all of this in mind we want to help make working from home work for you. We’ve compiled some practical advice for employees and managers to help you navigate this tricky time. So, let’s look at some hacks that could help you take care of your wellbeing.
Tips for employees
- Have set work hours and maintain a good work-life balance.
- Take regular breaks - move around every hour and go outside for fresh air, where you can.
- Stay connected to your team and talk to your manager daily.
- Create a dedicated workspace. It’s great to create an area that looks and feels separate from the rest of your home (if you can).
- Set a daily schedule.
- If using a shared device, make sure you have appropriate controls to prevent third parties from viewing confidential information.
- Don’t lend your device to children or other members of the household using your work profile or account. They could unintentionally share or delete important information or introduce malicious software to your device.
- If you do share your devices with family or other household members, have separate profiles so that each person logs in with a unique username and passphrase.
- Make sure you secure devices and store them in a safe location when not in use.
- Don’t use personal accounts for work-related emails that contain confidential information.
- Set ground rules with your family or housemates.
- Shower and get out of your pjs.
- Keep the kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and meals.
- Sign out and turn off notifications when the day is over.
- Use your usual commute time to exercise or take time for yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Tips for managers
- Agree on work hours so employees know when they are expected to work.
- Provide appropriate IT support so employees can be productive.
- Touch base with your team daily and have regular one-on-one meetings.
- Make sure your employees know what resources and support are available to them.
- Understand that individual circumstances vary during this time and consider options to support each team member’s needs, where possible.
- If you’re concerned about an employee, check in and encourage them to seek the support they need.
- Allow teams to stay connected with each other as much as possible.
- Keep staff up-to-date on your business’ response to the pandemic.
- Don't forget to take time to look after yourself.
Tips for setting up a workstation
- Use a good adjustable chair. Make sure you have a soft seat and that movement isn’t restricted by arm rests.
- Have a flat workstation that has enough space to fit all the things you need.
- The top of your screen should be at eye level or just below. If using a laptop, raise it so the top of the monitor is at eye level.
- Your screen should be approximately one arm length away from you.
- Your keyboard and mouse should be on the same level, directly in front of you, and positioned at least 10 to 15 centimetres away from the edge of your work surface.
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse if using a laptop.
- Have adequate lighting and position your screen away from windows to avoid eye strain.
- Your workstation should be clear and free from trip hazards, like cords.
- Maximise your Wi-Fi connectivity by finding the best position for your router – it’s best positioned in a high, unobstructed location.
- Make sure electrical equipment is safe – don’t use damaged cord or plugs and don’t overload power points.
- Personalise your workstation so you feel more comfortable.
- Keep the air circulating to help keep you focused and productive – opening a window from time to time will invigorate you.
Benefits of working from home
- Good work-life balance.
- More time for health and fitness.
- Save money.
- Increased productivity and less distractions.
- Your office, your way.
- Zero commuting.
- Increased independence and job satisfaction.
The bottom line
Working from home may not be your preferred option, but you can make the most of it. Be kind to yourself and practice self-care!
- Dedicated COVID-19 mental health support from Beyond Blue
- Work safe’s checklist for setting up your home workstation
Last modified: 5 June 2020