Accessibility statement

Health and safety advice for working from home

This information and guidance has been developed by Health and Safety Services (HSS) to offer an easy reference guide to homeworking.

You should also refer to the University’s working from home guidance on the Human Resources website.

Homeworking is a relative low risk activity, as it is primarily ‘office-type’ work. Any equipment provided by the University for the purpose of supporting an individual whilst homeworking will have been risk assessed to ensure it is both safe and fit for purpose. But you should check that your electrical equipment is safe to use - don’t overload sockets or daisy-chain extension leads.

All individuals undertaking home working and intending to use any form of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) are encouraged to complete a DSE Assessment process:

  • DSE working from home advice
    • This includes advice on setting up your workstation, what to do if you don’t have access to an adjustable chair, and what to do if you’re working from a smartphone or tablet.

You can also use this homeworking DSE checklist to identify any possible hazards in your home working area.

The University encourages homeworking activities that have been risk assessed, have appropriate controls in place, and are of an office-type and low risk nature. An example and generic risk assessment is available.

Look after your health and wellbeing

If you are working from home it is important you think about your physical and mental wellbeing.

People and Organisational Development have pulled together resources to support your wellbeing while working remotely (login required).

As well as our tips on team working, the following suggestions may help:

  • Set a work schedule for your day
  • Create a routine around meal times or other activities
  • Set ground rules for those you sharing space with
  • Schedule regular breaks - and take them. For example:
    • A 2-3 minute break every 20 minutes
    • A 5-minute break every hour (to make a hot drink or walk around)
  • Do simple workstation exercises
  • Keep hydrated - drink plenty of water
  • Get out of the house for fresh air and sunshine throughout the day
  • Connect with friends/family and or colleagues over the phone or online regularly
  • Find ways of switching off from work during breaks or at the end of your working day - such as watching TV or listening to music.

It is quite normal to feel anxious or stressed during these situations. Remember that all colleagues have free, unlimited access to Health Assured who provide an independent and completely free confidential telephone support line.

For further information or assistance, please contact Health and Safety Services at hss-group@york.ac.uk.

Measures for those at increased risk

Although some guidance has been relaxed, the Government advice for those aged 70 or older, those with underlying health conditions and those who are pregnant, continues to be that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.

There are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and PHE are strongly advising these individuals to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. For more information see the guidance on shielding and protecting people in this category.

If you don't feel safe at home

Guidance and support is available if you feel unsafe at home: