A remote employee’s home is considered a workplace. You, as their employer, owe them a duty of care, and a work-from-home checklist helps you meet your workplace health and safety obligations.
Your business can be held responsible for injuries your employees suffer at home while carrying out work-related duties.
A work-from-home checklist becomes a piece of evidence should you need to demonstrate that you have audited the employee’s home office and taken reasonable steps to prevent an injury.
(Related: Create A Winning Talent Management Strategy).
How Does The Work From Home Checklist Work?
You must request that all employees who work from home:
- Complete the checklist below.
- Return it to their supervisor or a designated person within the organisation.
You, as the employer, must permanently store the checklist on the employee’s personnel file.
Your organisation must take steps to address any issues and risks that the employee identifies on the work from home checklist.
Download The Work From Home Checklist For Employers.
Click the image below to view and download the checklist in PDF.
(Click The Image To Download The Checklist As PDF).
7 Wellbeing & Productivity Tips For WFH Employees.
In addition to using the checklist above, your employees can take several steps to make their workplace more ergonomic and comfortable.
The tips below offer a step-by-step roadmap for employees who wish to elevate their work-from-home environment further.
1. Set Aside A Dedicated Workspace.
Set a specific space in the home to work from and avoid working from the bed or the couch. Instead, make it a ritual to work in the same “work space” at all times. Our tips:
- Choose a quiet spot where you will be (mostly) undisturbed.
- Choose flat surfaces to support your posture – this can be the dining table if you live alone, a desk in your bedroom, or a corner of the living room with a pop-up desk.
- Set aside a spare room as a home office (if you have room to spare).
- Fill the space with things that inspire you – a plant, an art print or a nice-smelling oil diffuser.
2. Improve Workstation Ergonomics.
Equip yourself with tools and office accessories that make enhance workplace ergonomics. Some essentials are below, but as you work, you may realise you need other items – adjust as you go:
- Second screen/monitor with an adjustable monitor arm.
- Comfortable ergonomic chair.
- Desk (better yet, one that goes up and down!)
- Headphones or earphones, preferably noise-cancelling.
- Wireless mouse and keyboard (if using a laptop).
- Cable ties and organisers for your cords (read my top cable management tips)
- File organiser/trays.
Consider glare reflections on your monitor. Set up your work facing towards windows (not underneath them) to reduce glare, or buy an anti-glare screen protector.
3. Organise Reliable Internet Connectivity.
A reliable internet connection is not a luxury but a need. When working from home, you must communicate with your team regularly.
(Related: Ultimate Guide To Great Home Office Lighting).
Having calls drop out, video calls showing as blurry or lagging, or unsent/unread emails due to lousy connection – is detrimental to your job performance.
Before you start working from home:
- Research internet providers in your area.
- Compare pricing for download speed and data.
- If your current internet connection is reliable, consider upgrading for faster connectivity.
- Ask your employer if they can support your internet/phone bill or provide an on-the-go modem.
In Australia, you can compare multiple broadband plans on Finder and look at the data of the best performers here.
4. Do A Safety Check.
When working from home, it becomes your responsibility to manage safety risks – there is no HR or building security to do this for you.
Our tips for optimal home safety:
- Consider all the accessways to your home and whether or not they are secure.
- Ensure there is sufficient lighting (not dark) and adequate ventilation.
- Test that heating and cooling devices are working correctly.
- Check that all your electrical equipment is safe, including power cords, laptops, and outlets.
- Install a safety switch, and do not overload your power outlet.
- Purchase surge protectors for your work devices.
- Install a smoke detector.
- Know where the fire extinguisher is and the nearest exit.
- Keep a first aid kit near your workspace.
- Note your area’s emergency phone numbers in a visible location or pre-program them into your work phone.
Set a reminder in your calendar to do a comprehensive safety check every quarter. This will ensure you are aware of any unforeseen changes.
5. Make A Movement Plan.
Setting boundaries when you do not need to travel from the office to home is challenging.
You can quickly fall into the trap of working later/starting earlier or taking fewer breaks if you do not carefully monitor your time.
There are, however, increasing reports of a sedentary lifestyle – getting up and sitting at a desk and then going back to bed each day.
This quickly becomes unhealthy.
If you consciously set aside time to move your body, you will see many amazing benefits, plus improvement in your posture, mood, and work performance.
Schedule in styles of movement you enjoy throughout the week, so you have variety in your schedule and look forward to it.
You might like to try the following:
- Dance classes.
- Yoga or pilates.
- Team sports (soccer, netball).
- Tennis or squash.
- Self–defence classes.
- Weight training at a local gym.
- Running in your neighbourhood.
- Soft sand running.
- Cycling at the gym or in a park.
6. Up The Cybersecurity.
It’s easier to compromise sensitive data when working from home. Unlike working in the office, you likely won’t have an IT team to handle all your woes and issues.
- Research common cybersecurity threats.
- Look into the best malware protection and secure online communication.
- Ask your employer if they can protect your technology with additional software.
- Research IT businesses locally that can set up essential processes/software.
- Ensure you know the risks and what steps to take to prevent compromising client or company data.
- Save your sensitive data and documents to external hard drives (not online or desktop) in the case of a security breach.
7. Stay In The Loop.
Much of the buzz of working in the office is connection – break room chats, meeting with clients for dinner, events, parties and more.
Working from home can rob you of the social aspect of work. It is easy to become disconnected from your professional network and miss events or updates.
(Related: 7 Career Ideas For Australians Working From Home).
To prevent this:
- Create an actionable plan to stay in touch with your team members – schedule catch-up time weekly/fortnightly/monthly.
- If you’re a freelancer – find co-ops or co-working spaces.
- Don’t isolate yourself when WFH – engage in your local community events.
- Sign up for industry news or ‘town halls’.
- Take steps to retain and build your network as a remote worker – reach out to those before waiting for them to reach out to you.
Final Thoughts About Working From Home.
Working from home is a fantastic opportunity to find balance, productivity, and enjoyment in your working life. It can be a freeing and cost-efficient work model that can increase work capacity while supporting mental health.
Make sure to improve your WFH experience or prepare you for full-time remote working with our working-from-home checklist. Enjoy!