Working from home

Unplanned working from home guidelines

Unplanned working from home may occur due to unforeseen circumstances. This might include a time of crisis or unexpected circumstances where opportunity for preparation and planning, including determining the suitability of the home environment, is limited.

If unplanned working from home is required, ensure you:

  1. Complete and comply with the Unplanned working from home self assessment checklist. This self-assessment checklist has been specifically developed to assist you to set up a temporary home-based workstation and environment to optimise your health and safety during unexpected or unplanned events.
  2. Complete the Working from home safely and effectively module via TrainME.

Equipment suitable for working from home may include:

  • Laptop
  • External keyboard and mouse
  • Task Chair
  • Docking station (for laptops)
  • Headphones
  • A portable sit/stand platform unit
  • Laptop rises and footrests

It may be possible to borrow these items from your usual workplace with permission from your supervisor. Alternatively, items can be purchased at a reduced rate through the University preferred suppliers.

Tips for temporary working from home measures can be found on the working virtually page.

Preplanned working from home guidelines

The University of Melbourne supports flexible work arrangements for its staff. For some staff this may mean an opportunity for a formal work from home arrangement.

The following steps are required to effect a pre-planned working from home agreement:

  • Approval from supervisor/manager.
  • Complete the Planned workstation self-assessment checklist. This checklist authorises you to evaluate your own home workstation set up and identify any requirements necessary to conduct your work safely and productively. It also requests you submit a photograph of your workstation set up and sign a declaration that you will work only within the designated work zone.
  • Complete the Office Ergonomics training module via TrainME.
  • Follow the steps outlined in the University Health & Safety - Work from home process.
  • Comply with the University Health and Safety Policy (MPF1205) and report any incidents via ERMS.

Specialist assistance

If you have a health condition or disability which requires specialised equipment or modifications to undertake your work at home you may require a home-based workstation assessment conducted by a third-party expert. This should be organised directly with your supervisor or your Health and Safety Business Partner and funded through your local business unit.

Employees can submit a Workplace Adjustments request form to request reasonable adjustments, as outlined in the Disability and Descrimination Act (1992) relating to a permanent or temporary disability.

It you are working from home because you (or a dependent) are recovering from a health issue, injury or surgery, assistance may be available to you and your supervisor from the University’s Human Resources or Injury Management teams.

Tips for working from home

Whatever the reason you are working from home, here are some tips to help keep you safe and healthy:

Work in the zone

  • Conduct work exclusively in your designated work zone. This includes leaving your mobile phone in this zone when exiting to take breaks. Conducting work exclusively in the work zone will ensure non-work zones can be accessed without distraction
  • Consider how you access other internal home zones such as the bathroom and kitchen. Aim to keep paths of travel clear. There is a potential risk of slips and trips arising from obstacles, and items left on the floor, particularly in the event young children are at home or pets are inside. Consider also zones outside the home e.g. paths or steps to the letter box, garage, clothesline, or garden which may be exposed to weather and leaf fall/other debris
  • Ensure you wear appropriate, correctly fitted footwear and clothing for the environment.

Establish a routine

  • Aim to consistently get up at the same time as you would if going into the workplace
  • Start your day with some form of exercise, stretching or moving
  • Plan your day - a daily to do list will help keep track of activities and give you a sense of accomplishment as you tick things off
  • Check in with your manager or team at scheduled times
  • Take regular lunch and tea breaks and additionally take brief rest breaks every 30 – 45 minutes, to stretch, move and relax working muscles. Irrespective of how well set up you are, how well you are managing your workload and how in control you feel, rest breaks and movement are restorative. Check out our video tips for stretching and moving can be found here
  • Consider using free rest break reminder software, we recommend:

The Healthy use of laptops at home video contains some practical tips for setting up a laptop at home including tips for setting the kids up correctly too.

Set boundaries

  • Set boundaries and define work times. Leave the work zone when you are not working and switch off your computer. Not having a physical separation between home and work can leave you feeling ‘switched on’ all the time which is fatiguing
  • Engage in regular exercise or healthy recreational activities. Check out the Benestar (the University’s Employee Assistance Program provider) Keeping fit while working from home tip sheet
  • Take up creative hobbies that you enjoy and find relaxing. If undertaking Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home projects ensure you use the right tools and equipment for the job and wear appropriate personal protective equipment.

Purchasing furniture for home environment

When purchasing furniture for home environment use, see the Purchasing page for guidance.