Working Safely at Home
This guide looks at health and safety issues that you might need to consider when working at home during the current Covid19 outbreak.
Setting up your workstation
Unless you have the same equipment at home as you have at work, you may struggle to set up your computer to provide an ergonomically ideal workstation. Even if you do have that equipment, you need to make sure that it is adjusted to meet your needs whilst you are working.
The ideal workstation set up is shown in this guidance leaflet.
There may be temporary fixes that you can come up with to improve your home set-up where necessary. For example:
Using a large book or two to raise your monitor
Taking your work mouse and keyboard home if they are more ergonomic than your home one
using a laptop rise and a separate keyboard and mouse with a laptop
Taking your footrest home if you need to use one
Placing a cushion or pillow on your chair to get a more ergonomic arm position
This video provides some tips on how you can modify your homeworkstation to safely use a laptop if you do not have access to a laptop riser or a separate keyboard and mouse.
If you have a specialist chair for work, you may find that you cannot sit as comfortably at home unless you have provided yourself with a suitable chair. In this case, make yourself as comfortable as you can, and ensure that you take plenty of breaks from computer work.
At the current time, travel restrictions do not allow for people to come to work to collect work equipment. We will review this as government guidance changes.
All people who are designated "computer users" (typically, this includes people who use computers daily, for more than one hour) are required to carry out a risk assessment of their workstation.
You can carry out an online workstation self-assessment for your home computer using the usual online form as a guideline. Try to obtain as many ‘YES’ answers as you can. Refer to the guidance leaflet on workstation assessments.
Please do not click ‘Submit’ for your home computer assessment. SHEW will not be evaluating assessments of home computers during this time, and will be unable to make any visits to people's homes to assist with issues.
However, if you are having difficulties and need advice you can contact the Safety, Health and Employee Wellbeing Team for advice.
Take a (screen) break and do some exercise
If you have had difficulties achieving an ideal workstation set up then you will need to take more frequent breaks and ensure that you get up an move around more often than you would in the office.
Even if you can achieve a good workstation set up, you may find that you spend even more time sitting than you would normally do on campus, especially if you are unable to leave the house and have no garden to exercise in. It is vital that you periodically get up and walk around to increase the blood flow in your legs, plus take the opportunity to look out of the window at a distant view to rest your eyes.
This guide on rapidly assessing the risks using different IT equipment in different environments will help you to identify the minimum frequecny for taking screen breaks.
These stretches can also help to maintain blood and lymph flow throughout your body, especially if it’s not practical to walk around as much as you would normally do. The guideline is, do it within your limits and listen to your body!
Accessing University Systems
For many people, this will be the first time that they will have worked for an extended period at home. The University has put together a range of resources that you can use to access your email, files and work software. For information on these please see the DDaT TopDesk resources.