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Working from home—staying safe and healthy

COVID-19 is causing many disruptions to how we live and work. Working from home is the new reality for many of us as we soldier on through this pandemic.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has developed work health and safety information for employers and those performing computer-based work from home.

There's a new telecommuting checklist (PDF, 0.21 MB)  to help ensure safety, health and wellbeing when working from home. However, an important first step is for employers and workers to identify and minimise potential work health and safety risks.

Home based offices are considered a workplace under Queensland laws. As such, it's important to consider what equipment is required to perform the work safely and productively, and how the workplace and workers come to that arrangement. It is important to have workstations set up to minimise the risks of sprains and strains and fatigue.

To help do this correctly, simply set up the keyboard, mouse and screen making sure the chair and desk layout ensures good physical posture. The checklist (PDF, 0.21 MB)  provides the key factors to consider, including the physical environment.

Worker health and wellbeing may be challenging if there are a number of family members sharing the same space, but time saved not having to commute gives opportunity to exercise and take time during the day to prepare healthy meals and drinks. Below are some tips to manage the risks associated with working from home:

  • Ongoing communication with supervisors and colleagues is essential to ensure continuity of work, assessing workload and continuing professional relationships.
  • Minimise the impact of working in isolation through regular meetings and catch-ups via video-conferencing applications.
  • Create daily routines and break up tasks into chunks and time slots.
  • Take regular movement breaks to re-focus and give your eyes a break from screen work.
  • Take regular breaks between sitting and standing as both these postures for long periods are problematic (move the body from a static position every 30 minutes).
  • Encourage workers to dial a colleague or friend for a coffee break or walking meeting.
  • Include regular exercise each day.
  • Communicate how to report injuries, hazards, incidents and changed circumstances.