Please take care of your health and wellbeing, check in with your supervisor(s) and those around you, and reach out if you need additional support.


Remember that if you are working remotely, the Health and Safety policies of your workplace are still applicable.

Remote working presents unique challenges around connectivity, engagement, productivity, and care for yourself.

Prior to working remotely

A fundamental question for anyone looking at working remotely is ‘am I well equipped to work remotely?’ This includes whether you are able to psychologically separate home and work life and are physically set up to do this. Firstly, identify a dedicated work space. This will ensure that you minimise disturbing others (and vice versa), and also enhance your privacy and that of your work.

Equipment essential to work remotely

  • Laptop or desktop computer
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Monitor
  • Headphones / headset
  • Connection cables and power cord
  • A suitable chair
  • Stationery e.g. paper, paper clips, stapler, hole punch, pens


  • What resources do you already have at home and what else will you need?
  • Do you have all the software installed that you need for your role? Does it work remotely?
  • Ensure you have a reliable internet connection.
  • Do you know how to connect to the network remotely?
  • Ensure you know any login details and passwords you may require.
  • Ensure that the appropriate technology is in place to support your workflow.
  • Identify and address any skills gaps relating to specific technology as soon as possible e.g. if you are expected to use online portals, new technology, or video calling - check that you know how to use it before you need to.

Ensure remote working setup is suitable

Workstation setup is extremely important because a poorly set up workstation can increase the chances of headaches, backache, neck pain, and eyestrain. It can also affect your productivity and cause you to suffer from poor posture in the long term.

To set up your workstation correctly visit Habitatwork.

Comfort while remote working

Getting more comfortable

  • Forearms should be approximately horizontal and your eyes should be the same height as the top of the screen.
  • Arrange the desk and screen to avoid glare, or bright reflections. This is often easiest if the screen is not directly facing windows or bright lights. Adjust curtains or blinds to prevent intrusive light.
  • When sitting, make sure there is space under the desk to move your legs.
  • If you do not have a chair with back support, you can use a rolled up towel or small cushion to provide support.
  • Avoid excess pressure from the edge of seats on the backs of legs and knees. A footrest may be helpful, if you do not have a footrest you may wish to improvise by using another solid surface.

Using your keyboard

  • Good keyboard technique is important – you can do this by keeping a soft touch on the keys and not overstretching the fingers. Try to keep your wrists straight when typing.
  • Position the mouse within easy reach, so it can be used with a straight wrist.
  • Sit upright and close to the desk to reduce working with the mouse arm stretched.
  • Move the keyboard out of the way if it is not being used.
  • Support your forearms on the desk, and don’t grip the mouse too tightly.

Reading the screen

  • Your screen should be at arm’s length from your face and you should be able to read information without lowering or elevating your head.
  • Make sure individual characters on the screen are sharp, in focus, and don’t flicker or move. If they do, your screen may need adjustment.
  • Adjust the brightness and contrast controls on the screen to suit lighting conditions in the room.
  • Choose text that is large enough to read easily on screen when sitting in a normal comfortable working position.

Change your activities regularly

Breaking up long spells of activity at the workstation helps prevent fatigue, eyestrain, upper limb problems, and backache. Organised or scheduled rest breaks are helpful in preventing strains. The following may help:

  • Change position at least twice every hour – more often if you are working on a laptop or have a small computer screen.
  • Look into the distance from time to time, and blink often.
  • Change activity before you get tired, rather than waiting for fatigue to set in.
  • Short, frequent breaks are more beneficial than longer, infrequent ones.

Use of laptops/ portable devices

  • Whenever possible, use a firm surface such as a desk, as well as a full-sized keyboard, and mouse.
  • The height and position of the screen should be angled so you are sitting comfortably and reflection is minimised. Raiser blocks are commonly used to help with screen height but books or other solid objects can also be used.
  • More changes in activity and breaks may be needed if you cannot minimise prolonged use and awkward postures while using a laptop.

Additional tips

Whilst the resources we have may be limited during this time, here are some additional tips and tricks to help set up your workstation from Alan Hedge, a professor whose research and teaching activities focus on issues of design and workplace ergonomics. In addition to this, here is a 3-minute video from ergonomics expert Jon Cinkay.

Put suitable practices in place to ensure that you maintain confidentiality and privacy in your work, where applicable.

Remote Working Health, Safety, and Wellness Self-Review

  • Once your workstation is setup, check this against the guidance for workstations at
  • Ensure that you have sufficient lighting and ventilation
  • Ensure that the floor area is free from trip hazards
  • Ensure that electrical plugs, sockets, and power leads are not damaged
  • Know how to contact your supervisor

Guidance for students

Set a routine

  • Working in a different environment requires us to establish routines to plan our day effectively. Consider setting the same type of routine as you would if you were at a workplace, with scheduled breaks. This can assist with keeping you on task and focused on your work.
  • Set boundaries. When working from home it's easy to blur the lines between working life and home life. Try to stick to something that resembles your usual working hours (while being flexible where necessary). Be mindful of distractions, such as family members, pets, and household chores. This is where a schedule can help.
  • Incorporate new habits into your routine which energise you. Remember to take time out and stretch.
  • Take regular and scheduled breaks, this is important to assist productivity and creativity and prevent work-related fatigue.
  • One suggestion is to start your day with a 'purpose check-in' by asking simple questions like: “What tasks do I want to achieve today? How do these tasks contribute to my project or workplace?” Regardless of your new environment, you can find a sense of stability through reconnecting with your purpose.  Also extend this to an end-of-day check to record progress made and prioritize jobs for the following day.

Communication is key

  • Be as actively social and communicative as you can, for your mental wellbeing and your work.
  • Ensure that you have regular check-ins with your manager.
  • Make use of existing technologies to proactively reach out to other members of the team to maintain an overview of the work of others, and to maintain working relationships. This could simply mean jumping onto a call over a coffee for a quick check-in.
  • Keep connected with your colleagues, friends, and family and take time out to enjoy social time with other members in your household during down time (if applicable).
  • Start a Slack group for your whole work team or paper cohort to come together, set aside a thread for fun content to keep spirits up. It can be helpful to reroute such conversations onto an online forum accessible by all, instead of via email.

Schedule time for healthy habits

Everyone responds to remote working differently. Some people will naturally overwork themselves, while others will struggle to stay on task throughout the day. Scheduling breaks is so important for your physical and mental health. Set a regular reminder on your phone to practice healthy habits.

Physical Wellbeing

  • Practice healthy hygiene habits
  • Eat regular healthy meals
  • Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water
  • Open windows, where possible, to circulate fresh air
  • A fitness regime will help break up your routine and boost your endorphins e.g. walking and body weight exercises are cheap and don’t require special equipment. You can even try free yoga or pilates lessons on the YouTube Yoga Download channel.

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

The University of Waikato Wellbeing Hub has gone virtual.  If you are looking for a space for daily Wellbeing inspiration and ideas this is the place to drop in.  Join the Wellbeing hub virtual community through Facebook or Instagram.

Additional resources are available to help you maintain your mental and emotional wellbeing and build your resilience.

  • Southern Cross is offering free access to StayingWell; a site with information on how to stay physically active, mentally strong, and engaged with peers.
  • Calm offers resources to assist with mental and emotional wellbeing.
  • Lucy Hone's 16-minute TED Talk highlights three strategies to build resilience.
  • TED has launched 'TED Connects: Community and Hope', a free, live, daily, conversation series featuring experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work with a sense of responsibility, compassion, and wisdom. Join live streams or watch replays.

Know when to unplug

Determine a time to leave/finish working remotely each day and stick to it as best you can. Close your laptop, turn off your computer or other devices, and put them out of sight, or close the door on your work-space. Work-life balance is important to staying productive, maintaining wellbeing, and returning to work refreshed.

Balancing remote working with caregiving

Some students will be working remotely with other family members also at home, including dependents. In this instance it is beneficial to have an open conversation to manage expectations, gain clarity on objectives and deadlines, and agree on a plan. Individuals may also need to have conversations within the household to determine if and how you can divide family responsibilities with your support systems (if applicable).  If you are in this situation communicate clearly with your Supervisor to let them know of any limitations you have, so their expectations can be adjusted.

Additional support – we encourage you to:

  • Speak with your manager to address any challenges you have or issues you may face.
  • Contact the university counselling services or the mental health nurse
  • Call or text 1737; New Zealand’s national mental health & addictions helpline number or call 0800 lifeline (543 354) for immediate external support
  • Access Just a Thought, a free online learning tool to assist with mental wellbeing
  • If you have issues then your first points of contact are still your workplace supervisor and your WIL Coordinator.