Many employees across the U.S. have begun working remotely from home. If you are among them, ask yourself helpful assessment questions to uncover areas where you can improve your in-home workplace safety and productivity. No matter where you work within your home, you should prioritize making it a safe and efficient space.
Assessment questions for work-from-home safety
Take time to identify and eliminate any situations that may affect your ability to be productive and safe. Ask yourself:
Does your workspace have adequate lighting?
Are your electronics cleaned regularly?
Do you have well-insulated, low-voltage equipment that requires minimal maintenance?
Does each piece of office equipment have a designated socket?
Are you using adequate security software in keeping with your company’s data security protocols and requirements?
Are you using a secure internet connection?
Are company-issued materials stored in a secure, locked location?
Is your workspace set up with optimal ergonomics in mind?
Is your chair supportive and can the height be adjusted to maintain proper alignment?
Is your computer at eye level?
Is your work surface organized?
Is it easy to reach equipment and materials without stretching or overreaching?
Are you taking breaks to reduce muscle and eye strain and improve concentration?
Resources for improving remote workplace safety
Once you’ve answered these questions and identified certain areas where you can improve your in-home workspace, visit these key resources to help inform your adjustments:
Creating work/life balance at home
When you work from your home, it’s tempting to let your work hours bleed into your leisure hours (and vice versa). However, working designated hours—and then stopping when those hours are over—gives your brain time to focus and time to rest.
While working remotely does often provide increased flexibility with your personal schedule, it’s best to stick to a routine that helps you be productive, get your work done, and clock out (either literally or figuratively) when those work hours are over. For example, consider only handling personal business during your “lunch break” or after 5:00 pm—just like you would in a traditional office-based setting.
You may also want to try embracing a strict morning routine. Humans are creatures of habit—and those habits help us physically and mentally prepare for tasks and activities. Whether it’s savoring a cup of coffee or tea each morning, jumping on the treadmill, or taking the dog for a walk, your morning routine helps your brain get ready for the workday.
Of course, even when you’re keeping “work hours work hours,” you should make it a point to stretch for 5-minutes, get a snack, or text a friend to give yourself short breaks from screen time and work meetings. Studies have shown that breaks can significantly improve productivity and focus. Even during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s important to move and breathe fresh air—while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
Minimizing risk to improve personal health and safety
When you understand the safety risks in your personal workspace and take steps to minimize them, you’re also decreasing your chances of feeling burned out or isolated. A healthy work/life balance will boost your productivity and efficiency.
If you’re new to working remotely from home, this is the perfect time to incorporate risk management strategies into your home work environment—and keep your physical and mental wellbeing top of mind.
Thanks for reading! Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As best practices change regularly, you should refer to your trusted advisor for specific counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about workplace safety or check your workers’ comp rate in 3 minutes.