In the new norm many of us now find ourselves working from home, and admittedly there can be many advantages to working from home, not the least of which is a 30-second commute. Previously we may have thought working from home could mean you could work on the couch, in the garden, or at your kitchen table, in the end, you may find that you’re most productive at home when you create a proper workstation.
Setting up your home office means the freedom to choose not only the equipment, but the colour scheme to bring out the best in you. Always wanted a bright red chair, go for it! A feature wall with inspiration mural, why not! No matter how you decorate, furnish, or set up your home office, we’ve got some tips that will help you create a space that contributes to your success in working from home.
By now we have all realised there is only so long that you can sit on your kitchen chair or attempt to work on your sofa before you begin to experience issues with posture and repetitive strain injury -the ergonomics of the workspace is critical.
So, what does the ideal home office look like? A home office should ideally be a separate space in your home that is properly fitted out for work. Ideally where possible choose a small light room that can accommodate a desk for your laptop, and which can be separated from the rest of your house, so you have a work life home life balance.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t have spare space, but perhaps you can convert a guest room into a dual-purpose space; an office most of the time and a guest room when people visit. One key essential is an Office Chair! Most chairs in the home were not designed for us to sit on staring at a computer screen for long periods of time and used over too frequently home chairs can injure you with prolonged computer use. Dining chairs for example, rarely are at the right height, and they don’t always encourage the needed upright posture. At GRS Recruitment we offer all our employees a proper Office Chair that we provide for everyone’s home office as the health and wellbeing of our employees is paramount.
Another essential to get right in your home office is to ensure that the desk or table that you work at is at the right height. The industry standard is 72.5cm from the floor to the top of the work surface. To see if your work surface is at the correct height sit up straight and your forearms should be parallel to the ground and your wrist should not be bent up or down when you type or use your mouse. The top surface of your wrist should essentially be on the same level as the top of your forearm, with your fingers dangling slightly down to the keyboard. Bending the wrists for prolonged periods is an easy way to cause injury.
Good lighting is essential for your work environment and your ability to work. Lighting is often an area people don’t think about. Ideally, you have sufficient indirect light to illuminate your workspace, so you can easily read papers and see physical objects. Overhead lighting is usually best, such as from a ceiling lamp. Don’t place a desk lamp right next to your computer as you end up with competing light sources and possible glare. While you may need lamps for additional lighting, place them in a way that they don’t create glare on the monitor screen and are not in your direct field of vision when you’re working on the computer.
These essentials for the home office that are usually provided by the employer in the office raises questions how far should employers go in providing their employees with the tools for the home office?
While some employers have not embraced WFH, and some have the ‘Home Office’ is with us to stay and while legislation in Cyprus does not exist presently it is very probable that legislation will be passed soon regulating it. At the heart of regulation on WFH is the EU Framework Agreement on Telework, an autonomous agreement between social partners formulated in 2002. Indeed, many countries have already passed legislation that gives employers the responsibility of ensuring that the costs of working from are covered
Indeed, in Belgium employees WFH are entitled to an office allowance of €126.94 per month to cover the costs of heating, electricity, small office equipment or other necessary facilities at home. This allowance can be granted free of social security contributions to all employees who work from home, including those who did not work from home prior to the pandemic situation, and therefore without the employer and employee having concluded a formal telework/WFH contract beforehand. In addition to the office allowance, the employer may also reimburse an expense allowance of up to €40 per month for the use of a private Internet connection with a subscription (maximum €20) and a private computer (maximum €20). So, it looks very probable that Cyprus and Malta will follow suit in ensuring that employers will pay the expenses of their employees working from home.
The home office and WFH is with us to stay, and we have all now realised that environmental and ergonomic factors are just as important in the home office as being in the physical office. At GRS Recruitment and for a great many other companies this will change how we work and how we think about the workplace. Moving forward it will be essential to review and incorporate the opportunity for staff to work remotely from home in comfortable and healthy working conditions as happy and healthy employees are productive employees.
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