Tips for Remote Working During the Coronavirus Pandemic

May 27th, 2020 | by

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, RWTH encourages its employees to work from home where possible. As a result, employees find themselves in a situation where they are working from home for weeks at a time without having any prior experience. Furthermore, combining working at home while also looking after children is putting employees under greater strain.

In this exceptional situation, there has been little time to prepare the sudden switch to remote work, resulting initially in makeshift solutions.

These guidelines seek to provide you with general tips and hints in oder to make working from home a more pleasant and stress-free experience.

Working from Home: Organizational Matters and Communication

Working in a home office requires clear structures and a high level of self-organisation, especially when your children and/or your partner are present. Clear agreements within the family help to prevent possible conflicts. Furthermore, make sure to take regular breaks!
Managers are encouraged to clearly specify work processes and delimited work packages. Mutual expectations should be clarified. Employees working remotely should ensure that they can be reached by phone or online during the agreed periods.

Employees should at all times have quick access to all information that is relevant to their remote work activities (e.g., IT-related information, contact persons, electronic time sheet). Up-to-date information is provided on the RWTH website at: If you have any questions, please get in touch with your HR deparments.

Short and regular virtual meetings help keep the communication up within the team and simplify work processes. In order to provide University employees with a tool supported by RWTH, Microsoft‘s cloud and collaboration platform, MS Teams, will be made available for as long as the current crisis situation requires. For information on how to access MS Teams, please visit

In addition, RWTH’s Center for Teaching and Learning Services CLS provides you with access to the web conferencing tool Zoom, if needed. Please visit the Video@CLS webpage for further information.

IT, Security, and Data Protection

Working remotely from home is only possible with functioning technology (hardware, software). As to the provision of the necessary equipment (computers, VPN etc.) please consult with your superior or, as a member of the Central Administration, with the ZHV Helpdesk Team.

Data security is important: Is there any information that must be specially protected? Which areas are subject to data protection regulations? Clear communication between managers and employees about sensitive data requiring special protection when working from home is essential.

Employees are asked to pay special attention to data protection vis-à-vis family members and visitors. Working remotely does not require a separate room, but it requires establishing and maintaining a designated, adequate workspace at the remote workplace.

Ergonomics in the Remote Workplace

Makeshift remote workplaces are typically not ideal in terms of health and safety. Adapt your working environment to your ergonomic requirements, as far as possible:

  • Adjust the height of your desk and of your chair to fit your own size
  • We advise you to use a separate monitor, a separate keyboard, and a mouse.
  • Your distance to the monitor should be between 50 and 70 cm.
  • Only use equipment and cables that are in a technically perfect condition.
  • Set up your monitor or laptop in such a way that the screen does not reflect any light from windows or other light sources. Light from windows should preferably come in from the side.
  • Change your sitting position often and take regular breaks to move around. This helps to prevent or release back tension.

Work and Privacy

The transition from working in the office to working in your home environment will not be easy at first. The new situation will pose new challenges, not only for you as an employee, but also for your partner and family. This is made even more difficult given the exceptional situation due to the Coronaviruss pandemic.
If problems arise when working from home (e.g. childcare, anxiety, motivational issues, etc.), employees are advised to get in touch with their superior or with colleagues in order to agree on joint solutions. The Staff Council and the Staff Council for Academic Employees are also available to answer questions and solve problems.

For further tips for remote working during the Coronavirus pandemic, please visit: New Quality of Work Initiative – INQA (in German)

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