Keeping Safety a Priority while Working from Home

May 4, 2020

As workplaces continue to adjust to COVID-19 and its impacts on the world, there has been an emphasis on working from home, where possible, to try and maintain as much productivity as is feasible.

“Many workplaces — including ours at the Canada Safety Council — are leaning heavily on a remote workforce,” said Gareth Jones, President and CEO of the Canada Safety Council. “But moving from an office work environment to a home environment can present a new set of challenges that can easily be overlooked”.  

Ergonomics

Home offices are not always set up with the most ergonomically-friendly settings. Especially given the rapid transition to working from home — our new norm — many home offices are makeshift or, worse, nonexistent. Your health and safety is important. Giving thought to your ergonomics can help you be proactive in preventing pain, posture issues and long-term health concerns.

Check your posture often. Make it a conscious part of your routine to make sure you are comfortable and well-positioned. This includes ensuring that the small of your back is supported, your head is upright and forward, that your shoulders are relaxed, your arms are parallel to the work surface, your feet are flat on the floor  and that you are not putting undue pressure on your thighs by leaning too far forward. If you find yourself uncomfortable more often than not, consider investing in an ergonomic chair.

Frequent mini-breaks can also be helpful in getting the blood flowing and keeping your body in motion. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, prolonged sitting can cause long-term health problems including back pain, muscle tenderness and aches. It is also associated with diabetes and heart disease. Break up these prolonged sessions, then, by going for quick walks around the house or outside if safe to do so.

Cyber Safety

As we lean heavily on the Internet to remain connected, it’s important to reiterate a few safety tips to keep you, your identity and your personal information safe online:

  • Use security software that protects from internet threats including malware and virus. Maintain the most current updates to the operating system and applications.  Often the most current versions of software include security updates.   
  • Limit what you share online. If you’re filling out a form that requires sensitive information, ensure that there is a padlock next to the website’s address, indicating it is a secure connection. Double-check the website’s address, too, to make sure you know and are comfortable with the source.
  • Be wary of any unsolicited calls or emails requiring information from you. If you have to share information with an organization or individual, make sure you’re the one who initiated the contact using listed contact information.
  • Set strong and unique passwords for your accounts to make it difficult for would-be hackers to access your information. Two-factor authentication is also an effective deterrent against would-be malicious actors. This involves confirming your identity with a code sent to your device or email in addition to your username and password.

For more information, please contact:
Lewis Smith
Manager, National Projects, Canada Safety Council
lewis.smith@safety-council.org

Note to the editor: May 1 – 7 is typically National Summer Safety Week but, in light of circumstances, the Canada Safety Council has decided to focus instead on more topical concerns that have become more prevalent with a remote workforce: ergonomics and cyber safety.