29 April 2020

Updated 29.4.2020

Guidelines for remote work  

These guidelines are designed to establish basic rules for employers and employees working remotely. The current recommendation is that remote work should be favoured as much as possible during the coronavirus outbreak.  

What is remote work? 

Remote work is work carried out independently of a fixed location or working time. 

The arrangements for remote work are made in co-operation with the employer. The work it is performed at home or in various locations provided by the employer, at project sites, at the premises of clients or while travelling. 

During the coronavirus outbreak, remote work is primarily carried out at home. 

Employer 

  • In most cases, it is advisable to have a written agreement on remote work. This agreement may include  specifications of the workload, times, and dates, primary location and tasks of the remote work. If your workplace does not have established remote work arrangements, you can apply the instructions provided by the Centre for Occupational Safety, for example
  • Ensure in advance that all employees have the devices and skills required to carry out remote work. 
  • If you use virtual modes of communication or arrange virtual meetings (e.g. Skype or Teams), make sure that everyone knows how to use these.
  • Employers are also obligated to ensure the health and safety of their employees during remote work is performed. Make sure that everyone carrying out or supervising remote work knows how the appropriate labour legislation and insurance coverage are applied in remote work. Learn more about the guidelines of the Finnish Centre for Occupational safety: Etätyössä turvallisestiohjeita työnantajalle ja työntekijälle (In Finnish) 

Issues for the employer to be considered during the coronavirus outbreak 

  • Assess the possibility and need for asymptomatic quarantined employees to carry out remote work on a case-by-case basis.  
  • The primary location of remote work should be the employee’s home or a similar location. Office hotels, hubs and other shared remote work premises should be avoided. 
  • Make sure that employees who are new to remote work are adequately instructed and supported. Arrange events in which experiences and good practices can be shared.

Employee 

  • Prepare for a day of remote work like you would prepare for a regular working day. Make sure that your equipment is in order and check the next day’s schedule for the day on the previous day. 
  • Make arrangements for the tasks you will complete remotely and let your team and supervisor know in advance that you will work remotely. 
  • Make sure in advance that you can access all the information required for your remote work. 
  • Ensure that you are available by phone or by email.  
  • Make sure that your home or your remote work location is sufficiently peaceful.  
  • Think about where you want to work, where you feel most comfortable and where you have the best possible focus. 
  • Stick to your routine. Think about how you can best set yourself in work mode; for example, by taking a short walk before beginning work. Take a lunch break. 
  • Make sure you are clear on what you want to accomplish during the remote working day. Make a list of tasks and use it to monitor your progress. 
  • Make sure that you work ergonomically. Take breaks just like you would at the office. If you feel tired, exercise.  
  • Show initiative. Let your supervisor and colleagues know what you are doing and how you are progressing. 

Issues for the employee to be considered during the coronavirus outbreak 

  • Do not work if you feel ill.  
  • If you are unable to meet your deadlines, inform your supervisor about any changes in your situation.  
  • Ensure your well-being and recovery. Be kind to yourself. If you are assigned to remote work because a member of your family has been exposed to  coronavirus  or has contracted  coronavirus, the situation is very exceptional. Being constantly worried can take up your resources and make it difficult to concentrate on work.  
  • Remember to share your concerns with your colleagues, friends or health care professionals. 
  • An occupational accident is an accident that has a clear cause and effect relationship with a task  in your job description. Leisure-time accident insurance provides you with additional coverage. 

For more information, please contact viestinta@ttl.fi  

See also our article: Remote work ahead? Tips for employees and employers (PDF) (in Finnish)  

The guidelines of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) are drawn up together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (SMAH) and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. We also follow the publications of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), COVID-19

World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus