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Working from home - physical health

Guidance on maintaining your physical health while working from home.

Posture and comfort

There should be no increased risk using display screen equipment (DSE) while working at home or in different locations, if sensible precautions are taken.

Break up long spells of DSE work with rest breaks or changes in activity that don't involve DSE use (at least 5 minutes every hour)

Avoid awkward, static postures by regularly changing position and getting up to stretch and walk around every 25 to 30 minutes to maintain good circulation and relieve muscle fatigue. If possible take calls or virtual meetings standing up

Avoid eye fatigue by changing focus - look outside or at more distant objects regularly to alter your focus. Ensure your work area has a good supply of fresh air to reduce dry eyes, and is adequately lit but avoiding glare on the monitor as this can cause eye fatigue

Check the positioning and display of the laptop, computer screen or monitor - work on a table or similar surface and ideally not on your lap. Ensure the monitor is the right height with your screen level with your eye line and that you aren't bending your neck too far forwards or back to see the screen.

Where possible when using a laptop, use a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse to achieve a more comfortable working position.

Check the positioning and suitability of the keyboard and mouse. Have these in front of you close to your body to stop you from over-reaching. Ensure you're seated high enough so that your forearms are just above the horizontal position when you're typing or using a mouse.

Check the suitability of your chair, ensuring it is comfortable and supports your upper and lower back and is at the right height for you to type and use your mouse. Don't use a chair that puts pressure on the back of your thighs, especially at the back of the knee as this can reduce blood flow. Where there isn't access to an office type adjustable chair ensure the seat gives suitable support to the back and thighs and allows a suitable, supported posture to be maintained.

There is guidance online for maintaining physical wellbeing when working remotely, at home or from other locations, including advice on maintaining posture and comfort, and ensuring a suitable working environment. The Health and Safety Executive also have a useful video to help you set up your home workstation.

Your working environment

Check that there is sufficient space on and around your desk and work area to sit and move around freely.

Where possible, work in an area with minimal distractions so that you can concentrate on your work tasks. This will help reduce stress levels and help separate working and non-working time.

Check that you have appropriate lighting for your work area. Do you need a desk lamp? Can you adjust anything to improve natural lighting? Make sure you haven't got glare on your monitor, reposition your equipment or use blinds, curtains as required to maintain optimum light levels. Glare can cause eye fatigue if experienced regularly or for prolonged periods.

Check that the temperature, humidity and ventilation of your work area is comfortable for you. A well ventilated room will allow you to concentrate and will help ensure suitable humidity levels are maintained.

Can you walk safely between your work area and other parts of your home without risk of tripping or slipping? Consider where you place your laptop, computer screen and monitor cables to reduce the risk of you (and any other people, including pets) tripping, falling and pulling on any cabling and equipment.