Health and Safety Tips for Working from Home

From a health and safety perspective employees should consider a few important points when they are working from home, these include:

  • Workstation design and arrangement (ergonomics)
  • Work/life balance
  • Safety & Security
  • Electrical safety

What are some of the ergonomic tips for setting up a work space at home?

An at home work space should meet the same health and safety standards as those available on campus. For example, you should make sure that:

  • Your workstation is set up properly: that the keyboard is at the right height (wrists are in a neutral position), that the mouse is on the same level as the keyboard and that the table or desk you are using is sturdy enough to handle the weight of the equipment
  • Your workspace is appropriate for work – allowing for easy concentration
  • The lighting is properly arranged as to minimize any reflections or glare on the computer monitor

Tips for work-life balance

It is important to find that good work-life balance. There are natural breaks in an office environment that will not occur at home and it is essential that you take those breaks. Leave your work space and look out of a window for a few moments – this simple yet very effective change in view can help increase your work productivity.

While you may not have to drive to get to work, it is still important to keep to a 'work day ritual'. Here are some tips to help you create that:

  • Have a specific location where you set up your work space. This may be in a designated room, or just a corner of a room. What is important is that you have that consistent place where you can work.
  • Have a beginning and end of day ritual. Since there is no longer a period of time between waking up and going to work, some people may find it helpful to actually leave the house and take a short walk before starting work. You may want to end the day the same way.
  • As you would for working on campus, set a schedule and stick to it. Make a 'to do' list and check your accomplishments at the end of the day. Remember important deadlines.
  • Maintain contact with your supervisor and co-workers either virtually or by phone. Keep your supervisor informed of your progress and any difficulties encountered.
  • Determine what interruptions are okay and which are not. Tell your friends and family what the ground rules are.

Are there safety & security issues to working at home?

A home work space should offer the same level of safety and security as you would receive on campus. When you are working at home, you are most often working alone. While working alone in itself is not a risk, it can present a unique situation should something unexpected happen. It is important to communicate daily with your supervisor even if it is not a work conversation.

Electrical safety checklist

  • Are extension cords in good condition and positioned properly?
  • Are cords and cables causing a tripping hazard?
  • Are outlets grounded and not overloaded?
  • Is there surge protection for electrical equipment?
  • Is there sufficient ventilation for electrical equipment?