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Remote Working: How to be Safe and Productive

May 2022

       

          Summary:

  1. Hybrid working can be highly beneficial for workers who can excel in their home environment. 
  2. Some workers are still mentally recovering from COVID-19 lockdowns that required them to work remotely for up to two years.
  3. The success of remote working is subjective to every individual. Some workers prefer the office, whilst some prefer home working.
  4. Productivity is often the most significant concern surrounding remote working. Therefore ensuring the working environment does not hinder concentration or motivation is critical.
  5. A clean, well-lit environment with no outstretching wires is an excellent first step to creating a safe workplace. Don't forget to ensure your plug sockets are not overloaded or damaged.

Friday 20 May 2022 is recognised in the United Kingdom as National Working From Home Day for 2022. The day promotes awareness for the benefits of remote working for employees and employers alike.

Working from home showcases the flexibility and workforce freedom available to employees in the post-COVID 19 world. Amid the pandemic, companies were forced to either close their doors or continue their duties remotely from home. 

For some, this would have been the very first time they may have worked from home. Sometimes bringing your work home can distort the work/home life balance, leading to a distorted experience. 

The dreaded Zoom or Microsoft Teams call whilst in your pyjamas. Maybe your boss calls you whilst you are putting the washing up for drying. All in all, working from home can put certain people in a peculiar position. 

One often-overlooked factor in working from home is safety. Traditionally being in the home setting allows people to let their guard down and relax. The location gifts those working from home the chance to incorporate elements of their home life into their work schedule. It is vital to remember working from home can present risks and hazards that may not be apparent. 

We cannot forget what this day means for some employees. The long-term effects of the pandemic are yet to be determined. However, anxiety from returning to work after a long hiatus has been reported worldwide. For those who either work from home or didn't work, returning to an office/workplace environment can be extremely daunting. People worldwide started new jobs and couldn't meet their colleagues for up to two years. The wait only exaggerated the anxiety. 

How Can I Work Wiser From Home?

One of the biggest criticisms of working from home is a lack of productivity. A large part of whether it is successful falls on the individual and how they prefer to work. There is no right or wrong answer here, but Person A may work differently from Person B. It's essential you mention that to your line managers or supervisors so they understand the environment that best fits the way you work. 

If you think you work adequately or better at home, it is also essential to understand how you can do so safely. Let's go through a few ways to enhance your safety when working from home. 

The work station or working area is not just the area in which you work, but it also is the environment where your mind must operate. So, when choosing when you have a place in mind, take a second and look around. Ask yourself whether the area detracts from your efforts to work. It's important to remember that the working life balance may seem out of place in some regions of the home that, for lack of a better term, makes you think of home life. 

For example, some people prefer to have background noise whilst they work. The office environment can present a beloved yet noisy co-worker or radio blasting out the same songs repeatedly. However, knowing how to effectively fill dead noise can be a puzzle at home. We suggest that television is not the most efficient option. Outside of work, we are used to looking at it and listening to it. Temptation can overcome the best of us, and we believe it's best not to risk the quality of our work. 

When bringing your work equipment home, it can be easy to not worry too much about trailing leads and cables. They are a common hazard and lead to more accidents than you might think. One thing the office has over the home is plug and lead inspections. These are conducted to ensure the safety and efficiency of the equipment, and often your place of work will have regular checks to ensure your safety. When at home, it might be that you are not that stringent on something we take for granted, such as plugs and leads.

A straightforward way to ensure your safety is to limit the number of plugs you have plugged into each socket station. This limits the amount of electrical pressure on a single station, thereby reducing any risk of blowing a fuse or electrical fault.

It's often said that productivity is easier to come by through having a clean and tidy workspace. People usually like to clean before engaging with lingering work because it helps to clear the mind. Whether it be a student putting off course work, or a co-worker trying to avoid starting a big project. Therefore it seems wise to ensure that the nagging desire to clean is sorted before working. So if you know that you have housework yet to do and that it might be on your mind during the day, pro-actively try to start it as early as possible. Don't let it affect your productivity. 

If your work requires long periods in front of a computer/laptop screen, it's important to remember that giving your eyes breaks will help your general concentration levels throughout the working period. Without breaks, you could be susceptible to eye strain. Don't forget to also factor in lighting. Poor lighting can negatively affect your eyes if you work in front of a screen for long hours. Try to ensure you have plenty of natural light, which will provide a source of energy whilst you work and help keep your eyes feeling healthy. 

          Final Takeaways: 

  1. Uprooting staff from one working environment can cause consistency issues and encourage workers to favour one environment over the other. Therefore a strategic plan for remote working would help add       structure and meaning to the fluctuating environments.
  2. Everyone is different. Just because one person prefers remote working and is productive does not mean their colleague can replicate that success. 
  3. Awareness around remote working safety has improved, but more needs to be done as workers continue to recover from the pandemic. 
  4. To maximise productivity and safety when working from home, ensure the area is clean, well-lit, and devoid of outstretching wires. 
  5. Protect your eyes! Try to take regular screen breaks to prevent eye strain.

 

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