6. Home working
Employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for employees working from home as for any other employees, including the duty not to charge for things done or provided pursuant to their specific requirements. If you have staff working at home, you must still manage the risks to their health from display screen equipment (DSE).
Temporary home working
There is no increased risk from DSE work for those working at home temporarily. So in that situation employers do not need to ask them to carry out home workstation assessments. During any period of temporary home working, employers need to regularly discuss these arrangements with their employees. If such work is adversely affecting the health, safety and welfare of their employees, they should take appropriate steps.
However, employers should provide workers with advice on completing their own basic assessment at home. This practical workstation checklist may help them.
There are some simple steps people can take to reduce the risks from display screen work:
- breaking up long spells of DSE work with rest breaks (at least 5 minutes every hour) or changes in activity
- avoiding awkward, static postures by regularly changing position
- getting up and moving or doing stretching exercises
- avoiding eye fatigue by changing focus or blinking from time to time
The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors has published infographics to help people working at home.
Specialised DSE equipment needs
Employers should try to meet those needs where possible.
For some equipment (eg keyboards, mouse, riser) this could mean allowing workers to take this equipment home.
For other larger items (eg ergonomic chairs, height-adjustable desks) encourage workers to try other ways of creating a comfortable working environment (eg supporting cushions).
Keep DSE arrangements under review
As any period of temporary home working extends, employers should have regular discussions with workers to assess whether additional steps are needed, for example where they report:
- aches, pains or discomfort related to their temporary DSE arrangements
- adverse effects of working in isolation, on remote IT systems or unable to access support systems provided in the workplace
- working longer hours without adequate rest and recovery breaks
Long-term home working
Where employers decide to make working from home arrangements permanent, they should explain how to carry out full workstation assessments and provide workers with appropriate equipment and advice on control measures.