Working from home can be a more flexible experience than working from the office. You can skip the commute, which can make it easier to manage your caring responsibilities, or just your life outside of work in general. It doesn’t suit everyone, but if you’re proactive and are able to be accountable for your own work, it can be a great choice.
When you’re not in the office, it’s easy to let health and safety issues slide. You may have a designated department for this at work, but they’re not going to come round and review your home setup, so it’s up to you to take responsibility for this. But some people don’t know the things they need to monitor whilst working at home, or place them as a lower priority task, which then gets forgotten. So what should you be thinking about when it comes to home health and safety? We take a look.
At the office, you’re likely to have your desk already set up for you with screens and a computer. At home, you’ll need to create your own setup. As tempting as it is to work from the sofa or kitchen table, working at home long term requires the same level of setup as you’d expect to get if you went in. When you sit up straight at your desk, your forearms should be parallel to the ground, and your wrists should be flat when using the keyboard and mouse.
Your company should send you equipment as part of your remote onboarding process, and they may offer an additional budget for extra items, like screens. If they don’t, then it’s worth asking if there are any in the office that you can bring home to use before rushing out to buy them. If you do need to purchase this equipment yourself, then they can be picked up second-hand if you’re on a budget.
Many of us now do most of our work on computers, rather than using paper. In the office, you’d likely end up looking away from your screen regularly to talk to colleagues, or gaze into the distance. But at home, we are more likely to just pick up our phones, and swap one screen for another. As a result, at the end of the day, you might find that your eyes are tired and dry.
As well as getting regular eye tests and making sure to take breaks, you should also ensure that you have adequate lighting. Natural light is best, so if you can, position your desk in a well-lit room, or near a window.
Mental health care when you’re working remotely is just as important as your physical health. It can be easy to retreat into your own zone and lose contact with colleagues when you’re not in the office, but staying in regular contact can help keep feelings of isolation and loneliness at bay.
You should also take care to set a routine that allows you to balance work and home. Take regular breaks, and communicate with your colleagues about when you’ll be finishing for the day, so they know when they can contact you. It can be tempting to pick up your laptop after hours, but over time, this will mean you neglect your rest time.
Writer bio – Elizabeth Long
I graduated with a degree in English Language, and now work at home for most of the week. I write meaningful posts, designed to give readers helpful take-home points that they can act on in their own lives.