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Since 18 January 2021, home office duties have been mandatory in Switzerland. Anyone who can work at home "with reasonable effort" must do so. This is what the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) prescribes. And that is until further notice. Even if we are allowed to return to our jobs at some point, many want to work at home completely or at least partially after Corona.
In Switzerland, houses and flats are sought after in regions that were not so high in buyers' favour before Corona. This is confirmed by the results of a Bitkom study in Germany published at the beginning of January and has consequences for the real estate market: 21 per cent of the employees surveyed would move if they were allowed to continue working in a home office and no longer had to commute to work every day. This desire is stronger among younger workers than older ones. They would rather live in the countryside (39 per cent), closer to friends and family (28 per cent) or in a more attractive city (23 per cent). Corona reinforces and accelerates the trend towards location-independent working, and the home office boom should relieve congested cities.
Set up your home office wisely with our seven tips. Just for a few weeks or for longer if you want and are allowed to.
Most people work more efficiently and concentrate better when they have peace and quiet. If possible, set up your home office in a separate room. This way you can work undisturbed and make phone calls or take part in video conferences. If you do not have a spare room and work in the living room, for example, separate the work area with plants, shelves or partitions.
You need a table that is big enough for your computer and your documents. SUVA recommends 120 centimetres as the table length. Ideally, the table should be height-adjustable so that you can work sitting and standing and thus relieve your back. If you don't have enough space for a desk, the kitchen table will do. But then you have to tidy up before every meal.
The chair must be height adjustable. Adjust the seat height so that your thighs rest on the seat up to a few centimetres. Ensure a right angle between upper and lower leg as well as upper leg and torso. SUVA recommends chairs with 5 castors. Soft castors if the chair is on a hard floor, hard castors if it is on a carpet.
The best way to relieve the strain on your back and neck is to look slightly downwards at the screen. To do this, you must set the screen low enough or place the notebook in an elevated position, for example on a pad. If you place the notebook in an elevated position, you should connect an external keyboard and mouse, because the internal keyboard and touchpad are ergonomically impractical.
Natural light is best. However, do not place the desk facing or with its back to the window, otherwise the screen contrast will be too strong or weak. It is best to place the desk at a 90-degree angle to the window. With a ceiling lamp with soft light and a desk lamp, you can also work in a way that is easy on the eyes if daylight is no longer sufficient for this.
Bad light can cause burning eyes, headaches or concentration problems and noticeably shorten your working time in the home office.
The smaller your desk and workspace, the more important it is to keep your home office tidy. With enough storage space, for example in a carcase under the desk, a rule, a cupboard or a sideboard, you can keep your work surface tidy. If you have little space, you can put files, folders and papers in cardboard boxes and stack the boxes on top of each other.
Plants belong in every office, even at home. They improve the working atmosphere, increase humidity, filter pollutants from the air and improve the indoor climate. They are also a natural sound barrier if you use the phone a lot and improve the ability to concentrate.
You can also apply the Chinese harmony theory Feng Shui to furnish your home office. Read our article "Feng Shui: How to Arrange Your Home Harmoniously".
Home office days can be long and sometimes monotonous. Beat the home office grind with these seven tips:
Is your boss allowed to monitor you in your home office? No. In the Ordinance 3 to the Labour Code it is stated that "Monitoring and control systems designed to monitor the behaviour of workers at the workplace may not be used." This also applies in the home office. However, it is possible to monitor performance, just like at the workplace in the company. For example, the number of calls if you work in a call centre.
Since October, we have all been working increasingly in the home office. The home office obligation of 18 January was therefore not a big change for us - but the potential for optimised workplaces still exists for us as well. Decide for yourself...