Health and safety guidelines while working from home
Staying healthy is crucial for employees working from home and it is important to create boundaries between work and personal life. Here are some tips for working from home, self-isolating or self-quarantining.
General safety and wellness
- Maintain regular hours: Set a schedule and stick to it. Working designated hours, and then stopping when those hours are up, will give your brain time to work and time to rest.
- Schedule breaks: Just like any working environment, giving yourself regular breaks is incredibly important to let your brain and body relax. Breaks can significantly improve productivity levels and a person’s ability to focus. As tempting as it may be, don’t spend your lunch hour in front of the computer.
- Leave home: Get out of the house at least once a day. Your body needs to move, and fresh air and scenery is good for morale. Although you are self-quarantining or social distancing because of COVID-19, it is still important that you take a break from your routine workspace all while making sure to follow the directives communicated by the Canadian, Provincial and local Governments.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking healthy beverages such as water, tea, and juices throughout the day can help in keeping headaches and fatigue at bay.
- Socialize with colleagues: Socializing is important for our mental health. Take advantage of different opportunities to interact with people, talk about work or common interests using technology available (texting, video chats, phone calls, etc.).
Many people don’t have proper office set-up at home, and working for extended periods of time at a kitchen counter or table may not be the most comfortable. Here are few tips to make your home environment more ergonomic while working.
- Change posture often: Vary your posture throughout the day, as sitting in the same position or chair all day can lead to back, neck and shoulder pain. It is best to alternate every hour.
- Put a pillow on your seat: Placing a thin pillow underneath your seat can go a long way to making an ordinary chair more comfortable.
- Add a rolled towel for lumbar support: Rolling a towel and placing it between your chair and lower back will provide support and increase lower back comfort.
- Elevate your laptop: While working on a reading-intensive task, prop your laptop up on objects (like a stack of books) so that it’s at eye-level. When you need to type, you can lower it to a level that allows your arms to be bent at 90-degree angles.
- Typing height: Avoid typing for extended periods with your hands higher than your elbow height. Find a higher chair to sit on or use a firm pillow to raise you up. If neither of these things are possible be sure to take small breaks from typing and bring your hands down to your lap to relieve strain to your shoulders and forearms.
- 20/20/20 rule: Follow the 20/20/20 rule to avoid eye fatigue. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Take breaks: Be sure to take a break every hour for three to five minutes. You can set reminders on your phone to ensure that you are prompted to take a break. Get up and walk around and do some quick stretches. See this website for inspiration https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/stretching.html