Working from home has become a new reality for many of us and will hopefully give us greater flexibility leading into the future. But many homes aren’t set up for a safe and effective home office. If you need or want to work from home, you may want to consider taking extra care, to help ensure you’re not putting yourself and your home at risk.

Setting up to avoid pain and strain

A well-designed, ergonomic office can help minimise pain and repetitive injuries, especially when you’re sitting for a long time. Worksafe QLD recommends:

  • Your chair and desk should allow you to keep a neutral posture
  • You should be able to sit comfortably with your knees under the table, and feet on the floor or on a footrest
  • Pay attention to your monitor height – ensure you don’t need to tilt your head to read your screen
  • You may also like a keyboard and mouse with ergonomic features, which may reduce the risk of repetitive strain

Remember, sitting for too long may have negative effects on your health and fitness. So consider setting a reminder on your phone to take regular breaks. Alternating between standing and sitting may also help you avoid neck or back strain.

Get prepared

If you’re working from home – or even if you’re not – you might want to think about preparing in case things go wrong. A well-stocked first-aid kit is a sensible idea in any home, as are fire extinguishers and working fire alarms. You may also want to consider a list of important contact numbers, such as emergency services and energy providers (in case of a blackout).

Powering on

If you don’t have enough power outlets, consider using a power-board with surge protection and safety switches. Damaged electrical cords, double adaptors, and overloaded power-boards can cause electric shocks and fires.

Remember, electrical cords can also be a trip hazard – so keep cords flat and out of your path, but not under rugs where they may overheat. It can also be a good idea to switch off your equipment at the end of the day, to avoid electrical hazards – and save on your power bill.

Staying distanced, not isolated

Working from home doesn’t mean you have to become a recluse. As more people swap the office for the lounge room, there are more opportunities and tools that can help us stay in touch.

For example, you could set up an online breakfast, lunch or coffee meetings with your colleagues to share work news and boost rapport, or chat to friends and family during breaks. And while 2020’s lockdowns have been a challenge for many, we now have more freedom to socialise. So it can also be a good idea to plan social activities outside your work hours, to help keep you connected, while observing social distancing measures.

Is your home office covered?

Office equipment, like laptops, monitors, printers and furniture, isn’t cheap. So you may want to consider protecting them against an event like theft, fire or water damage. Your home insurance contents’ policy may cover these items, but it’s worth considering whether your current policy still meets your needs. 

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Things you should know

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.

Home and Car Insurance is provided by CommInsure, a registered business name of Commonwealth Insurance Limited ABN 96 067 524 216 AFSL 235030 (CIL). CIL is a wholly owned non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 (The Bank). The Bank does not guarantee the obligations or performance of CIL or the products it offers. Where we refer to 'we', 'us' and 'our', we mean CIL. This information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this you should consider the appropriateness to your circumstances.

A Product Disclosure Statement is available at all Commonwealth Bank branches, by downloading them from commbank.com.au or by calling 13 2423 and should be considered before making any decisions about these products. You should also read the Home Insurance Key Fact Sheet, Financial Services Guide and Privacy Policy which are also available by calling 13 2423.