Telecommuting and home-based working

Managing the health and safety legal and psychological ramifications of COVID-19: An Australian multidisciplinary perspective
Phillips P, Titterton A, & Tooma M (2020)

COVID-19 represents unprecedented challenges for the entire community. Businesses are working to safely maintain operations and a productive workforce throughout social isolation/distancing for an unknown duration. Yet uncertainty, ambiguity and radical change are breeding grounds for anxiety, stress and helplessness. Organisations need to support workers in maintaining social connections, team cohesion and productivity throughout these times. This paper explores the health and safety legal obligations that apply in this context and outline a practical framework for organisations to contribute to and reinforce a positive state of mental health during the mass remote work experiment.

Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak from the WHO
World Health Organisation (2020)

This document provides a series of group-specific messages that can support mental and psychosocial well-being in different stakeholder groups during the outbreak. There are specific tips for: the general population, healthcare workers, team leaders or managers in health facilities, carers of children, older adults, people with underlying health conditions and their carers, and people in isolation.

HFES town hall webinar: Facing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Human Factors considerations
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (2020)

This webinar covers human factors approaches to dealing with health crises in general and COVID-19 in particular. Webinar information presented by a panel of experts in PowerPoint slide with audio narration, includes Q/A and discussion between the panel members. Relevant content to COVID-19, Human Factors Considerations, begins at 5 min 0 sec. Total duration of 2 hours and 10 minutes.

10 things the pandemic has changed for good
Markowitz A (2020)

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a US-based interest group whose stated mission is “to empower people to choose how they live as they age”. This article considers elements of current daily life that they believe will permanently change – such as travel, working from home, medical appointments, grocery shopping, entertainment, personal hygiene, and communication.

Why lockdown has given you brain fog and how to fix it
Carlyle R (2020)

Many people are experiencing allostatic load – wear and tear on our bodies from living in the constant state of stress response due to coronavirus lockdown. This article discusses the issue, our physiological response and the impact that has on our behaviour and health, including why we crave sugar and find it difficult to choose healthy lifestyle options. Simple and practical solutions are offered.

World Health Organisation advice to employers
World Health Organisation (2020)

When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects, such as desks, tables or telephones. This document gives advice on 1) Simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace; 2) How to manage COVID-19 risks when organising meetings and events; 3) Things to consider when you and your employees travel; and 4) Getting your workplace ready in case COVID-19 arrives in your community.

Human Factors in the Design and Operation of Ventilators for Covid-19
Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (2020)

This document provides designers and manufacturers of ventilators with advice and guidance on the key themes for consideration and specific Human Factors and Ergonomic (HFE) issues in a period of ‘crisis management’ requiring rapid design and production.

The pitfalls of the traditional ergonomics model in the current mobile work environment: Is visual ergonomics health literacy the remedy?
Long J, & Richter H (2019)

Mobile digital technology enables us to work relatively easily from anywhere and at any time. The onus is now on mobile (or flexible) workers to set up their own work environment for comfort and use. This paper describes how vision can drive our posture and argues that visual ergonomics is important for setting up digital devices so that they can be used comfortably and easily. This paper also proposes improved Visual Ergonomics Health Literacy for mobile workers (including school children) so that they have the knowledge and skills to set up their work areas comfortably, wherever they are working.

Visual ergonomics on-the-go
Long J, & Richter H (2019)

This short paper is intended for a general readership. It applies the knowledge presented in its partner paper (“The pitfalls of the traditional ergonomics model in the current mobile work environment”) and proposes a simple strategy to help workers set up their digital devices so that they are comfortable and easy to use. Photographs and practical tips are included to help workers apply the knowledge, together with references for further reading.

What is the best height to adjust your computer monitor?
Long J (2020)

A practical one-page reference sheet to help you adjust the height of your computer monitor so that it is comfortable for your body and your vision. It describes common problems encountered with setting up a computer monitor, together with tips for resolving these problems.

Top tips for purchasing a task lamp
Long J (2020)

Task lamps are an excellent way to provide extra light on your work, but shopping for a task lamp can be confusing and expensive. This practical one-page reference sheet presents 4 tips to help you when purchasing a task lamp.

Tips for standing workstation setup
McDonald F (2020)

A one page summary on how to set up your home standing workstation. Includes hints on height of desk, managing tired legs, standing posture and location of your monitor.

How do I set up a workstation at home
Safe Work Australia (2020)

Model WHS Laws apply whether working in the office or at home. When working from home, a worker’s workstation must be safe, comfortable and easy to use. A safe home workstation will depend on the work, the environment and the worker’s individual needs. Workers have a duty of care for their own health when working at home and should follow any reasonable policies or directions from their employer. This checklist provides the worker with advice on the elements that should be considered when setting up a home workstation including: furniture, computer equipment, access, hazards and exercise breaks.

Working from home checklist
SafeWork NSW (2020)

When working from home unexpectedly, workers may not have access to the same type of office furniture and equipment that they would have had in their office. This checklist outlines the principles that a worker should consider for computer-based work when setting up the space they are using at home.

Getting back pain while working from home? An Ergonomics expert offers advice
Hedge A (2020)

If you’re working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be noticing new aches and pains. TIME magazine asked expert Alan Hedge for his advice. This article discusses how aches and pains can start when working from home if you have not considered your posture, ways to incorporate movement, as well as how equipment is used. Alan provides 10 top tips to pay attention to when setting up for computer work at home.

Health and safety checklist for working from home
Worksafe QLD (2020)

This checklist is intended for workplaces to manage workers health, safety and wellbeing while performing computer based tasks. Use this checklist to assess work health and safety risks prior to commencing work from home arrangements. Address any unchecked tick boxes to minimise potential risks as reasonably practicable.

Health and safety for working from home
Worksafe QLD (2020)

A basic guide on the issues to consider and address for employers and workers when implementing a working from home (also called telecommuting, e-work and telework) arrangement. It includes resources for workstation set up, safe use of laptops, managing work related stress and sedentary work.

Episode 2: Home-schooling ergo tips
The Ergonomics Centre (2020)

The 6 minute 43 second video by Senior Ergonomist Gary Downey shows some of the basics of setting up an ergonomic home office for a school age student. This could assist those needing to work at home due to COVID-19 physical distancing requirements, and shows how to set up an inexpensive comfortable home working environment. The focus is on using things you already have around the house, and the presentation style is direct with some humour and banter.

How to adjust an office chair to your body – good sitting posture
Girard O (2011)

This 1:58 minute video shows how to adjust an office chair for comfort, using adjustable height, seat pan, armrests and backrest (height and tilt). The presenter discusses adjusting the tension for reclining to allow appropriate back support at all times.

5 ways you’re sitting wrong at your desk – computer desk setup ergonomics
Zhang D (2017)

This 3:59 minute video describes some of the common problem postures people may adopt when working at a desk and offers suggestions to overcome these issues. A number of alternative setups and uses are discussed and various ergonomics equipment are highlighted, such as footrests, the selection of desk types, and the use of wrist rests. The presenter discusses why some of these additions are appropriate or superfluous for different needs.

DIY dream desk setup – clean modern wood design
Zhang D (2017)

This 3:20 minute video shows how to set up a home office deskHello. The presenter discusses the need for adaptability in the setup so that you can change your posture and avoid static muscle loading and poor sustained posture. The presenter also lists item purchase details.

Ergonomics expert explains how to set up your desk
Wall Street Journal (2019)

This 3:22 minute video explains desk set-up, task variation and muscle stretches to complete at your desk. The presenter shows how to set up using a desk with under-desk drawers.

DIY home office and desk tour – work from home setup
Encina M (2019)

This 8:25 minute video is presented by a designer and content creator. He offers practical advice regarding decluttering and repurposing existing computer equipment and items in his house. He lists all items that he uses and purchase points in creating an appropriate home office for a professional who works in a creative field (photographer and graphic designer). He discusses some ergonomics principles.

Work from home office tour – workspace + desk update 2020
Encina M (2020)

This 7:57 minute video shows how the presenter has updated his home office from the previous video. He discusses why the modifications are useful for him and continues to demonstrate his DIY methods. He offers explanations of the type of equipment he selected. He lists information on all equipment shown.

Working from home during COVID-19 shutdown? These hacks may help ease the pain of your home office
Weule G (2020)

A/Prof. Jodi Oakman, HFESA member and head of the Centre for Ergonomics and Human Factors, La Trobe University, gives some tips on working from home in this ABC Health & Wellbeing article.

Working Well From Home – for your workers
HFESA (2020)

This guide has been prepared by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia (HFESA) to help you and your workers be comfortable, productive and safe while working from home. Human Factors and Ergonomics professionals can assist employers confirm that home-based equipment and furniture are suitable for workers and how they work from home.

Working Well From Home – safe working at home
HFESA (2020)

This guide has been prepared by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia (HFESA) to help you be comfortable, productive and safe while working from home. Human Factors and Ergonomics professionals can assist workers and employers confirm that home-based equipment and furniture is suitable for workers and how they work from home.

The continuing problem of Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) in the office
Phillips S (1999)

Historically, repetitive tasks increase the incidence of musculoskeletal pain and strain injuries. Office work can be considered a repetitive task, particularly if there is little variation in equipment used or task performance. Although there are many options for equipment selection when considering office work, it can be difficult to decide which is most relevant and useful. This paper offers a literature review of 82 articles considering various aspects of injury incidence and office equipment design and usage.

Sitting and standing at work – what’s best for my health?
McDonald F (2020)

A one page summary on the perils of prolonged sitting and prolonged standing. It describes the current research on how long we should stay in each posture along with the importance of movement.

Thrive at work at home
Centre for Transformative Work Design

Evidence based guide and tips for successfully working from home from the Centre for Transformative Work Design, which is part of the Future of Work Institute at Curtin University. There are videos, blogs and radio interviews led by Professor Sharon Parker on all aspects about how to manage your health and wellbeing particularly during the COVID-19 crisis.

Teleworking to stop the pandemic
NAPO (2020)

This short animated film provides guidance on how workers can work at home productively, and as safely and healthily as possible. Factors considered include: work equipment and workstation, working alone, family and children, interruptions and finding a new work routine. Key message from the cartoon characters is: “Stop the pandemic, work at home… and work safely!”

The HuffPost guide to working from home
The Huffington Post (2020)

This site offers 30 articles dealing with various aspects of living and working remotely – including physical work environment, time management, organisational management (and micromanagement), work/life balance, health and fitness, mental health and general concerns. It offers practical advice from some key researchers and authorities.

Coronavirus means working from home — and more video calls. Here’s how to make them less painful
Wiggins N & Tickle M (2020)

This article discusses strategies for conducting video conference meetings. Prof. Frank Vetere, HFESA Member and teacher and researcher at the University of Melbourne, talks about video conferencing in this article by ABC Radio National.

Key human factors messages – when working under pressure
Clinical Human Factors Group (2020)

This brief guide outlines strategies to maintain good teamwork, leadership and communication when working under pressure.

Australian Government Department of Health website
The JobKeeper Payment provides wage subsidies to not-for-profits including charities.

Safework Australia Resources
​​​​​​​​​Workplace checklist – to help employers identify what to do in the workplace
​​​​​How to keep workers safe – a fact sheet overview of what employers need to do
​​​​​​5 things to do in your workplace – practical steps employers can take

Industry-specific information

Early childhood education and care
In-house services – this includes child minding, domestic cleaning, garden and home maintenance, dog walking and minding, and trades entering a client’s home
Food processing and manufacturing
Warehousing and logistics
Health and aged care providers
​​​Public transport

Physical Ergonomics image

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