Work environment when working from home

Work is primarily to be conducted at the workplace. But you may have the opportunity to sometimes work from home, in dialogue with your manager. Working from home can, however, involve certain challenges to your work environment. This page provides advice on how to improve your work environment at home.

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Regardless of if work is carried out at the workplace or at home, Umeå University as an employer still has the responsibility for the work environment of its staff and must ensure it is safe and does not contribute to ill health.

Working at home can be challenging as the physical, organisational and social environment is not adapted to function as a workplace. A common effect is worsened ergonomics and difficulties separating work and spare time.

Read more about work environment responsibilities on the page Working environment.

Work environment when working from home

Improve your physical workplace at home

  • Choose a place at home where you can work uninterrupted. If possible, avoid working in your bedroom as this could have negative effects on your sleep.
  • Do what you can to ensure that your home workspace is as similar to your regular workplace at the university as possible. More information on how to set up a good workplace can be found on the page Ergonomics.
  • If there is necessary equipment that you lack at home, please talk to your manager about what you can borrow from your workplace.
  • Try to alternate between different positions throughout the day – sitting, standing and walking.

Organise your work

  • Talk to your manager about what tasks are to be performed at the workplace and what tasks could be performed at home.
  • Decide together what meetings require physical presence at the workplace, what meetings can be held online, or if some meetings could be so-called hybrid meetings – meetings with simultaneous physical and online participants. More information on how to succeed with hybrid meetings can be found on Aurora.

Plan your work at home

  • Create a structure for your day. You can, for instance, plan your working hours, your tasks and break times in your Outlook calendar.
  • Take regular breaks. Plan both short and long breaks, and involve physical exercises or some form of movement. For instance, you can use Pausit or the web-based break programme Aktiv paus.
  • Physical activity is important. Take a daily walk and/or use your fitness hour.
  • Make sure you get time to recover by separating work from spare time. If possible – turn your notifications off so they do not disturb you when you are not working.

Stay in touch

  • It is important to stay in regular touch with your closest work colleagues, on a social level too.
  • Make sure you are in regular contact with your manager.

Work injuries and damages when working from home

Work injury insurance

Unlike working at the workplace, injuries at home need to be directly linked to the work you are conducting. This means that you must have injured yourself whilst performing your work tasks for the work injury insurance to apply. Examples of cases that could be covered is if you

  • trip over the power cord to your laptop
  • are sat at your computer answering work-related emails
  • are sat at your computer talking to a colleague/customer on the phone
  • are walking around at home while having a work-related phone call on your work phone
  • are travelling between home and work for a work-related meeting
  • are travelling to work to collect equipment, a phone or a letter
  • are having a walk-and-talk meeting as long as the employer has approved this.

However, the insurance does not cover other types of general accidents in the home. If you, for instance, hurt yourself when making a cup of coffee in the kitchen, it does not count as a workplace accident, even if it happens during established working hours.

Read more about your insurance coverage on Aurora

Read more about injury insurance at AFA Insurance, in Swedish: Så fungerar försäkringen vid Arbetsskada

If work equipment causes damages

Your home insurance should cover any potential damage that a burning device could cause to your home, for instance. Your work computer and phone are included in the University's insurance coverage. However, the University's excess fees are very high, which means that computers and phones should be treated as uninsured property.

More information about working from home or remotely

Online teaching

Get started with online tools and get new ideas for setting up online teaching.

Online teaching

Virtual meetings

Fins information about the tools and services you can use for meetings and online collaborations.

Virtual meetings and collaborations

Break app for your computer

Pausit is a desktop application that can help you take breaks and activate your body during the workday.

Read more about Pausit

Elizabet Westerlund
3/11/2022