Working from home
Since March we’ve been working from home and we will continue to in the coming period. Currently, there are more options to come to UM in specific cases. The motto for the coming months remains, ‘In principle work from home and in specific cases on campus.’ There have been sufficient safety measures taken so that employees can be asked to come to campus for particular education or research tasks. Everyone’s situation can be a bit different, but for most of us, this means we are working from home the majority of the time. Naturally, health and safety at home and on campus is our first priority. We have to work in very different circumstances than we are used to, at home or on campus, and this requires flexibility, adaptability and creative solutions. In order to support you, here we provide you with information about working from home.
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Basic principles for working from home
Circumstances can be different for every employee and work situation. For all situations the following basic principles apply, your health permitting. An employee whose work allows it and who has the necessary facilities, works from home. What is expected when you work from home?
- You continue with your regular work as much as possible. If it is not possible, discuss this with your manager, so that you can look for a solution together.
- Working from home requires a different type of communication. As much as possible, your manager is expected to keep you and your colleagues updated and informed about your team’s work and priorities. It is expected that you keep your manager and colleagues updated on your progress as much as possible. This is why it is important that your manager and your teammates know the best way to contact you.
- Your manager must, when possible, arrange things so you have the necessary facilities to work from home (e.g. laptop, access to servers). Therefore, discuss with your manager what you need. Take into account that in these circumstances we cannot always offer the same ergonomic standard of workplace that we can at UM. But it is still important to inform yourself about working sensibly from home. It is possible to borrow certain office materials and furniture to use at home (e.g. your chair or monitor). Discuss this with your manager.
Now that we are working mainly from home, ask yourself whether your home workplace meets ergonomic standards. Even if you don’t have any physical complaints, it is important to arrange your home workplace correctly.
Do you want to know whether your workplace meets the standards? Do this check from the Association of Universities in the Netherlands. If it seems that your workplace is not ergonomically correct, you can borrow office materials to use at home (after discussing it with your manager). This applies to portable equipment such as a monitor, keyboard, mouse, document holders and office chair. If this still doesn’t provide an adequate solution, working 100% at a UM location can be discussed.
Contact your prevention officer if you have any health complaints (severe or mild) or doubts about the right way to arrange your workplace. This person can help you by telephone or via a video consultation. If necessary, for example for privacy reasons, the video consultation can be performed by HCC, the university’s occupational health service provider.
Tips for working from home
- Do you have an adjustable office chair? Try raising your chair a bit. Then if you lay your underarms on your desk or table, your shoulders don’t have to be raised at all.
- Support your arms well on your table or desk by moving the keyboard further away. But keep your back straight and don’t lean forward.
- Use, if possible, a separate keyboard and place your laptop higher up (for example on a pile of books) so the top of the screen is right under your line of vision.
- If you are working on a laptop without a separate keyboard, pay extra attention to relaxing your shoulder and neck muscles to keep your blood flowing.
- Spread the time you work out in blocks throughout the day and possibly into the evening.
- If you need to make a lot of telephone calls, be sure to call handsfree or use earphones/headphones or the speaker function.
- Every half hour, get up from sitting at your desk or table and walk around, move or do some exercises. For example, walk around while talking on the telephone.
- The golden rule for taking breaks is at least five minutes every hour, 10 minutes every two hours.
- Be sure you have enough light in your workplace.
- Sit preferably where windows are on the side or behind you. It is extra tiring to look straight into daylight.
When can you come to UM?
In the interest of students, employees and the organisation, we’ve looked for ways to start up the most important activities again since the ‘intelligent lockdown’ ended. There have been so many safety measures put in place, that in principle employees can be asked to come to campus at specific times for specific tasks. For example, to teach and provide education-related support or to carry out research in a lab.
This can be different for individual employees, but for most of us this means that we are still working from home the majority of the time. The particulars are decided within the different units in conversations between managers and staff and are based on the specific tasks within the team.
A second factor which is very important, is the capacity of our buildings. Applying the government regulations, such as the 1.5-metre distancing rule and ventilation requirements, has resulted in a situation in which we can only use approximately a third of our usual capacity. Within these restrictions, we have given form to our educational model ‘On campus if possible, online if necessary’ which also plays a role in how we work from home and/or on campus.
Employees who are physically present at the university are expected without exception to follow all safety and hygiene guidelines.
More information can be found here.
Do you belong to a high-risk group or provide care to someone at higher risk or are you pregnant? Then you are not expected to come to a workplace at UM until at least 2021.
More information can be found here.