Tips for Staff Working From Home

Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic poses a number of challenges, especially as families juggle children's homeschooling, elder care or compromised health situations. Below are some tips and resources we hope will be helpful to the Hobart and William Smith community.

Note that while working from home, all HWS policies remain applicable.

Preparing to Telework

  • Get "ready" for work. Although it may be tempting to lounge around in your pajamas, experts highly recommend getting dressed as if you were heading to a workplace.
  • Set a schedule. Many of us are balancing work and family duties so establish blocks of time for work, for family fun/personal time or household chores.
  • Designate a dedicated workspace in your home, preferably with few distractions.
  • As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are providing free or reduced cost internet service. See the listing of resources at the bottom of this page for details.
  • The Colleges offer remote and web based access to many technology services. More information can be found here or by contacting the Help Desk at
  • Voicemails can be accessed using a telephone or a web browser, or you can have them delivered to your email. Check here for details.
  • Remain vigilant to protect yourself and the Colleges from cybersecurity threats while using personal devices to access HWS information and systems.
  • Time Reports can be accessed and filled out from home:

Note: Employees should complete their time report and submit to their supervisor for approval. Supervisors should then email the approved forms to


Ergonomics Tips

  • Use a sturdy chair. Ideally, the forearms should be parallel to the floor when keying.
  • Place a small pillow in your lower back while sitting to maintain the natural curve of your spine
  • Refrain from sitting on very soft couches; they do not support the body evenly during extended sitting.
  • Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day (about every hour) to reduce excessive stress on the lower back and legs
  • Take short micro-breaks (approximately 2 minutes in length) every hour to stretch and move your body.
  • Use an external mouse to promote more neutral wrist postures.
  • Place key objects - such as your phone, mouse and printed materials - close to your body to minimize reaching

Wellness Tips

  • Maintain regular communication with your supervisor; this is beneficial from both a personal health and business standpoint to avoid isolation
  • Set yourself up in a distraction-free space so that you are able to focus on work.
  • If you are not used to working remotely, know it will take some time to adjust to your new work location
  • NexGenEAP is a fully integrated Employee Assistance Program (EAP) designed to help you balance the competing demands of work and life. The Colleges have identified ENI - NexGenEAP to provide integrated work/life Employee Assistance services and resources that include short-term counseling, legal and financial consultations, personal assistance, articles, videos, and personal and professional online trainings.

Internet Connectivity Information:


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.