Working from home at the time of the pandemic

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How to Create a Safe Working Environment at Home 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the daily lives of millions of people, and work routines are no exception. With social distancing being the most advocated way of slowing down the spread of the virus, millions of people have been forced to work from home indefinitely, as businesses brace for months without their employees in offices. Beyond reducing your risk of exposure to the disease, working from home has many advantages including reduced commuting time, more autonomy, and even increased productivity for some. However, it does come with a fair amount of health and safety risks, which is why you must take steps to create a safe and comfortable work environment at home. 

Find a comfortable working space 

While allocating a designated room to work in is ideal, it may not be possible for you — especially if you have a family. Your second-best option is identifying a place in your home that will allow you to work with minimal distractions and impact on your health. A traditional desk with a comfortable chair that ensures that you maintain proper posture when working is the best option, but a couch, sofa, or bean bag can also allow you to focus on your work while reducing stress. Make sure that the lighting in your workspace is ideal to avoid eye strain. 

Schedule plenty of breaks 

When working at home, giving yourself breaks is vital to allow your brain and body to cool down. Various studies have shown that taking breaks can actually improve productivity levels significantly and boost your ability to focus. For the best results, go outside for your breaks. A few minutes of in your backyard or a short stroll around your neighborhood will provide new scenery and fresh air, doing your mind a lot of good. 

Maintain good indoor air quality 

Since you’ll be spending most of your time inside, you need to take steps to ensure that the air you breathe is clean and pollutant-free. First of all, you need to closely monitor any combustion sources like the stove, grill, or fireplace to ensure that they don’t release harmful carbon monoxide into your home. Another thing you need to be careful about is black mould. If you are not careful, toxic black mould can easily grow in your home especially in areas like the kitchen, bathroom, under carpets, and in the ceiling, leading to allergy-like symptoms like eye irritation, headaches, and difficulty in breathing. To ensure that you don’t have a black mould problem, you can hire an expert to perform a mould inspection of your home and a remediation exercise if necessary. To boost indoor air quality further, you can buy an air purifier to continuously remove contaminants from your home. 

Take the necessary cybersecurity measures 

With so many people working from home, there’s an increase in cybersecurity risks. While you may have taken adequate cybersecurity measures at the workplace, they may not be effective at home where you’re working on an unsecured network. To boost cybersecurity, you need to ensure that you have the right tools at home; a VPN to ensure that your network traffic is encrypted, a password manager to generate secure passwords and store them safely, built-in firewalls to prevent malicious inbound or outbound requests, and built-in encryption to secure the data on hard drives and USB sticks. 

Even with governments and health organisations taking measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, there’s a good chance that you’ll be working from home for many months to come. It is up to you to construct a safe and positive environment that will make working from home a joy rather than a chore. 

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