Work environment when working remotely

Working from home for a longer period of time results in certain work environment challenges – both physical, organisational and social. This page aims to provide some general advice on what is important to keep in mind when working remotely.

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Regardless of work is carried out on site or remotely, Umeå University as an employer has the responsibility for the work environment of its staff and must make sure it is safe and does not contribute to ill health.

Working remotely can be challenging as the physical, organisational and social environment is not adapted as a workplace. This may result in limitless working and difficulties in separating work and spare time.

Read more about work environment responsibilities on Working environment.

Work environment advice when working remotely

Here are some basic advice for working from home:

Create daily routines

  1. Set up a structure for your work day. Use your calendar in Outlook, or equivalent, to plan you work hours, the tasks for the day and break times.
  2. Take regular breaks, both short and longer breaks, and involve physical exercises or movement. Use the web-based break programme Aktiv paus developed by Feelgood.
  3. Physical activity. Take a daily walk and/or use your fitness hour.

Adapt your workplace

  1. Find a space where you can work uninterrupted. If possible, avoid working in your bedroom as it can have negative effects on your sleep.
  2. Optimise your workspace to make it as similar to your regular workplace as possible to avoid harmful strain and stress on your body. Please find more information about Ergonomics on Aurora.
  3. If you do not have the appropriate work equipment at home, discuss with your supervisor what equipment you can take home from your workplace.
  4. Try to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.

Promote social contacts

It is important with regular social contacts, preferably every day. This could be online coffee breaks or meetings with colleagues or your supervisor.

Create a balance in your work

  1. Contact your supervisor if you need help in prioritising and/or planning your work, or if you need support and help in how your work is to be carried out or to look at your daily routines.
  2. Recovery is of great importance. When working from home it is easy that the boundaries between work and spare time become blurred. There is a risk that you never feel completely off-duty, which can impair your chance of recovery, see section Create daily routines.

Keep informed

  1. Participate in planned online meetings at your workplace.
  2. Stay updated on a daily basis of what happens at the University with regards to COVID-19: Information for students, faculty and staff regarding COVID-19

Advice for supervisors and managers

Chefshandboken contains basic advice for how heads of departments and other supervisors can act and what attitude should be taken regarding the many challenges that come with having many members of staff working from home. Chefshandboken is available in Swedish.
Chefshandboken: Arbetsmiljö vid distansarbete (Work environment when working remotely)

Web-based courses for employees

The Human Resources Office at Umeå University and the occupational health care services Feelgood have developed some short and useful web-based courses about work environment when working remotely. The content is suitable for all members of staff and supervisors. These courses are free of charge.

Working from home – creating a brain-friendly workplace, regardless of where you are working

Target audience: All employees

Objective: Increase awareness and give tangible advice on how to create as good a work environment as possible when working remotely. We emphasise the importance of good ergonomics suitable also for the brain and important social and organisational elements for a healthy work environment.

Course details: Max 50 participants. A psychologist and an ergonomist from Feelgood hold a 40–50 minute lecture. Opportunities for asking questions.

Date and time for the course in English:
Tuesday 3 November at 11:00
Wednesday 25 November at 13:00

Register through umea@feelgood.se no later than 24 hours before the start of the course.

COVID-19: RECOMMENDATION TO WORK REMOTELY

According to the Public Health Agency of Sweden's regulations and general advice, valid until 31 December 2020, employees should make sure that staff who can work from home.

Read more: Information for staff regarding COVID-19

Jonas Lidström
9/25/2020