How to work from home safely and efficiently?

Remote working, or telecommuting, is a situation in which an employee works from a location other than their physical office or workplace. Remote work provides several benefits, such as the possibility to focus deeply on specific tasks that require uninterrupted concentration. However, working remotely also includes risks that employers and employees alike need to be aware of.

woman sitting on sofa and working with laptop.
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Telecommuting requires good working practices

In comparison to an office or workplace, employers have less influence on the employees’ working conditions when they are working remotely. For example, monitoring of working conditions, including time, ergonomics and workload can be challenging.

Remote work therefore requires good working practices and a certain level of trust between an employer and their employee. Employees need to understand the risks of working from home. These can include for example issues relating to network connection, IT and security, as well as handling and printing of confidential documents.

Personnel risks can include ergonomics since the home offices may not be as well-equipped as the work spaces at the actual offices. In fact, If’s recent survey in Denmark revealed that over 30 percent of remote working employees have recently experienced soreness due to poor physical ergonomics.

Remote work gaining ground

Over the past decade, remote work has become increasingly popular, however today it is an integral part of our ways of working. As an example, as the pace of work increases, we still need to manage our private lives. Here, remote work practices offer a solution for many of us.

In the wake of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, remote work has played a critical role in slowing the spread of the virus. Working online, employees have managed to stay safe and avoid getting infected, while allowing businesses to continue to run their operations online during the lockdown.

Remote work has been vital for businesses to operate under the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
man working with a laptop, sitting on sofa.

Occupational safety perspectives

There are various Occupational Health and Safety Acts that also apply to working remotely. The nature and intricacies of remote work must be managed to prepare for potential dangers and problems.

It is good to aim for healthy, safe working conditions for remote workers, similar to anyone working in an office or workplace. This applies to physical, cognitive as well as to organisational matters.

During longer periods of remote work, it is important to promote employee wellbeing from each of these perspectives, including building virtual work spaces for teams for coffee breaks, for example. 

As working from home may lead to dealing with private life issues in between work tasks, it is good to keep in mind that home offices present the same risks as homes usually do in general.

Help and practical tools

Employees can face many kinds of hazards while remote working. At If, we want to help you successfully overcome the challenges which remote work presents. To support this aim, a remote work training course has been created to share insights and raise awareness on the risks of working from home.

We also offer a practical checklist for remote workers and their employers, please visit the Risk Management Library in If Login to access these materials.

Not an If client? Check out the sample course for a sneak peek at the Remote Work training.

If ensures that our worker compensation and accident products are adapted to cover the work situation for the businesses that are working from home during the corona situation.

For more information contact us

  • Tips for successful remote working:

    • Be aware of ergonomics and working conditions to promote your health and safety during your remote work day. Working posture is important, as well as the possibility focus on the task in hand without distractions
    • Plan your work day with breaks in advance. It is important that also remote work days have a clear start and end time.
    • Be active in communicating with colleagues, supervisors and partners, take advantage of online chat, email and teleconferencing
    • Be sure to take breaks and stretch/exercise regularly. Your body and mind need movement!
    • Agree with your roommates, family members and others in your remote work environment about basic ground rules when you are working at home.

Article by: Salla Lind-Kohvakka

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