Working From Home
Temporarily working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic may pose certain challenges. The health and safety of LRSD staff is of the utmost importance. The information on this page is intended to help you work from home safely and effectively. If you require additional support or resources, talk to your administrator.
Safety While Working Alone
The safety and wellbeing of Livingstone Range School Division staff is a top priority. While staff may be temporarily working remotely alone or in a school building on their own during the COVID-19 pandemic, certain practices will help promote personal safety and wellness.
Take care of your mental health
In this time of uncertainty, it is normal to experience feelings of worry, anxiety, fear, frustration, and loneliness. Working away from colleagues and your normal routine can also cause you to feel isolated. Taking care of your mental health will be a benefit to you, your family, your colleagues, and your students.
Some ways you can promote positive mental health include:
- Reach out and connect with others virtually
- Eat healthy foods and avoid too much caffeine or alcohol
- Maintain a routine
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Get outdoors
- Limit your exposure to news and social media
- Talk to a trusted friend or counsellor
Some things to watch for in your mental health include:
- Losing interest/joy in activities
- Becoming obsessed with the news
- Difficulty controlling your worries
- Developing a jaded view of the world or others
- Loss of or increase in appetite
- Sleep difficulties (e.g., trouble initiating or maintaining sleep, nightmares or oversleeping)
For mental health support, contact your employee assistance plan at 1-877-438-4545, Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642, or access many online resources through https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/amh/page16759.aspx.
Check in each day
If you’re working remotely, check in with your supervisor or administrator each day before 9am so that we know you’re well. Send an email or text, make a phone call, or have a video chat.
If you have any health conditions that make it more risky to be working alone, check in more often with your supervisor, or ask a friend or family member to check on you during the day.
Avoid high-risk activities
Everyone likes science experiments. But these shouldn’t be done when you’re alone. If you want to plan an experiment for your students’ learning, please do so at the school where colleagues can be there if you set your hair on fire.
The same goes for other high-risk activities. Remember: when you’re working alone, you’re responsible to make safe decisions.
Working remotely means you’re not using the school phone when you make a call to a parent. You’re entitled to keep your personal cell or home phone number private.
You have the option to block Caller ID either temporarily or permanently.
To block your number from being displayed temporarily for a specific call:
- Enter *67.
- Enter the number you wish to call (including area code).
- Tap Call. The words "Private," "Anonymous," or some other indicator will appear on the recipient's phone instead of your mobile number.
You've successfully blocked Caller ID for a specific call.
Please remember to only use your work email to correspond for work purposes.
We’re in this together
Despite the dramatic changes that COVID-19 has brought into our lives, one thing remains the same: the Livingstone Range School Division family cares about one another. Even though you may be working on your own right now, your colleagues and administrators are just an email or text away. Take care of yourself and help take care of each other.
Ergonomics For Working At Home
Working at a kitchen table or home office desk may be the ideal setting for poor posture, a sore neck, back trouble, eye strain, and shooting pains up your arms. The physical setup, change in routine and workload, and lack of moving around can cause a lot of issues for those now working from home. These tips will help you stay healthy and avoid injury.
- Work at a desk or table with adequate knee/foot clearance so that you can sit/stand close to your laptop.
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse with your laptop and position the keyboard and mouse directly in front of you within easy reach.
- Position your laptop so that the top of the screen is level with your eye height. If you don’t have a laptop riser, use a box file or some books to raise your laptop. Or plug in a separate monitor if you have one.
- If sitting, use an adjustable chair. Use a rolled-up hand towel for extra lower back support, if needed. If your chair is too low, sit on a cushion to raise your seat height.
- Maintain a good posture; if sitting, try to ensure that the small of your back is supported, your shoulders are relaxed (not slumped, not elevated), and that there is no unwelcome pressure on the back of your knees. If standing (e.g. at your kitchen worktop), keep your legs, torso, neck and head approximately in line and vertical – don’t slouch, lean or twist to the side.
- Don’t sit or stand for too long – change your posture every few minutes and take regular micro-breaks away from your laptop.
- Telephone – If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker rather than cradling the phone between your head and neck.
- Footrest – If your chair is too high for you to rest your feet flat on the floor — or the height of your desk requires you to raise the height of your chair — use a footrest. If a footrest is not available, try using a small stool or a stack of sturdy books instead.
- Stretches – Try these stretches or find your own online and do them regularly.
- Avoid digital eye strain by following the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You can also relax your eye muscles and rest from light stimulation by closing your eyes and gently placing the palms of your hands over your eyes for 30-60 seconds. Slowly lower your hands or open your fingers to allow the light to return.
If you are having discomfort, contact Health & Safety Coordinator Laura Stocker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Email her a photo of your set up and she can offer some suggestions.