Working from home
Even more of us are working from home since the Coronavirus pandemic.
I have been working at home for 9 months now and it took me over 3 months to really structure my working day and environment. At first I would work with my laptop on my knee whilst curled up on the sofa, this lasted about 4 days before I realised I was not being productive and I really started to get some shoulder pain.
The following week I decided the next best thing was the dining room table, this really worked for a longer period of time, there was lots of room to spread out my work, I was able to do a workstation assessment ensuring my feet where on the ground comfortably, I was sitting up in a much better position.
Again this was then very short lived, the pain in my shoulders, neck and back gradually got worse – I was sitting on a hard dining room chair, that was actually quite heavy so when getting in and out of the seating position meant I was pushing and pulling a dead weight ( the chair and not just me ?).
I know I really should have had a computer chair but they are ugly it didn’t fit in with any of my décor and I had no real space to put it.
So I continued with the dining table and dining chair for a few more weeks until my other half got sick of me moaning about back and shoulder pain.
We did a bit of furniture removal and from the loft brought down the computer table and computer chair… Ok it really does not look aesthetically pleasing but my shoulders and back are not in constant pain and my other half no longer has ear ache – a real win win.
It is important to our wellbeing that we do comply with the same requirements at home as we do in the workplace.
You can get work station assessments online on the HSE website to support you checking you are sitting correctly and I recommend you take a few minutes out of your day to complete this task for yourself.
Also worth remembering that taking regular breaks from looking at the computer screen is a must, and if you are deemed a computer user ensure you have regular eye tests.
HSE have just published their December newsletter – some of the key points are outlined below and the full article can be found here.
Free homeworking advice
Acas the workplace experts have free advice and resources to help employers, managers and staff work effectively and manage wellbeing. They also offer Managing homeworkers training.
Their homeworking advice covers making arrangements, thinking about health , safety, wellbeing, keeping in touch, managing working from home and managing longer term changes.
Protecting home workers during the pandemic
Employers have the same responsibility in relation to Health and Safety of their employees when working from home, as they do the work place.
If your people are working from home you should:
- Provide the equipment they need – for example, computer, phone and video conferencing facilities
- Keep in regular contact with them, making sure you discuss their wellbeing.
The HSE guidance explains the measures you should put in place to protect home workers.