Working from home

As the Government restrictions, brought in to limit the spread of COVID-19, are easing some colleagues will be returning to campus. For most of us however, we will continue to work from home.

What are we asking you to do?

Complete the e-learning 'help with temporary homeworking' training package

  • Complete and submit the questionnaire: home working DSE
  • Review your workstation, equipment and set-up
  • If you are comfortable, carry on. Or if possible to improve, do so
  • If you need additional support or equipment, please contact your line manager
  • With line manager’s approval, collect your equipment (see below)

We are making a short e-learning training package (login required) available. Select ('Help with Temporary Home Working') which culminates in the completion of a questionnaire. The questionnaire is designed to assist your College, School or Department to better understand if you have any additional needs or requirements which you should then discuss with your line manager. Arrangements are being made for drop-in sessions to enable you to collect equipment from the University. This would be our preference. If this proves difficult, it may, following agreement with your line manager, be possible to purchase equipment. The IT team, the Health and Safety team or Health and Wellbeing team are available if you need further support.

The basic principles

Diagram of how to set up a deskWhen setting up your home workstation, you should be seeking to replicate the workstation you have at the University as closely as your circumstances allow.

The diagram summarises the ideal workstation layout for most users.

Please note:

  • Where possible, the work surface should be large enough to accommodate your work equipment and at a height that allows good posture. Ideally, this would be a desk, if you don’t have a desk, a dining table is the next best alternative.
  • Ideally the chair should be an adjustable office chair with good back support. If using an alternative, the chair should enable you to take a posture as close as possible to that shown in the illustration.
  • The very top of the screen should be at eye level. If you are using a laptop without a separate screen, raise it on a pile of books and plug in a separate keyboard and mouse.

How the University can help

Equipment

The initial lockdown caught many of us by surprise and you may have left the University with the minimum of equipment. If you’ve not been able to supplement this with peripherals from your own home, or you have specific requirements, the University may be able to provide you with the most essential office equipment. Following completion of the questionnaire, which will inform discussions with your line manager, you can either collect equipment from your office using this process book a time slot or, follow this link to order new equipment (log-in required). For staff who have specialised equipment, such as a desk, relating to a reasonable adjustment, this can also be collected from the University.

Option 1: Collect your own equipment

  • If you have left equipment (not your desktop PC) in your University office, that is needed in your home, following completion of the DSE questionnaire email your line manager to request permission to pick it up.
  • If approval is given, for open buildings, you can come to campus to collect. For closed buildings, you can book a slot to collect equipment using the link to the left.
  • Please be aware, for collection from closed buildings, there are a limited number of slots available and you will need to give a minimum of 72 hours notice.

Option 2: order new equipment

  • If you don’t have equipment at the University, IT Services can organise for a variety of items to be delivered to your home.
  • This will be paid for by your own department so you will need to obtain your manager’s permission.
Request equipment
  • In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to arrange for furniture or equipment to be borrowed from the University and delivered to your home.
  • This is not a standard option and will only be available for staff with specific needs and after your situation has been reviewed by your Health and Safety Business Partner.

Breaks

Make sure you take adequate breaks from seated work. When working at the University in a perfect workspace, the advice is that you should take a micro break each hour. Depending on how successfully you’ve replicated this at home, you may require more frequent or longer breaks. This is especially important for those who no longer have the use of a specialised keyboard, mouse or other equipment.

You can also avoiding awkward, static postures by regularly changing position. Make sure you get up and move or do stretching exercises. Also avoid eye fatigue by changing focus or blinking from time to time.

Keeping in touch

Your manager should be keeping in touch with you on a regular basis, the suggestion is, a minimum of once per week. This could be via phone call or video conferencing and on a team or a one-to-one basis. You can supplement this with virtual coffee mornings, team meetings etc.

If you need support

If some aspect of working from home is proving challenging, please report it to your line manager immediately. The following resources are available to help and support you during this time: