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Clackmannanshire Council Online

Working From Home

Working From Home

Enabling Working From Home

To speed up the process of getting staff remotely accessing Citrix, IT Services are investigating how they can deploy Citrix to employees who have a laptop or PC at home.  Staff who are interested in this will need to have an Android or Apple smartphone to use the RSA security token application.

Setting up your equipment 

Poorly setup workstations, or incorrect use of display screen equipment (DSE) can lead to musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain, pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, wrist and hands, visual fatigue, and mental stress. In order to eliminate or reduce the above risks as you work from home, it is important to ensure that your "home workstation" is correctly set up as far as you are able to, or as far it is practicable.

When setting up your "home workstation", you should aim to achieve the following:  

  1. Arms should be approximately at a right angle when typing. Where possible, seat height should be adjusted accordingly.
  2. Forearms should remain as ‘flat’ as possible whilst typing.
  3. Eye level should be roughly in line with the top of the screen (within the top third is acceptable). Screen should be lowered/raised accordingly.
  4. Back should be as upright as is comfortable, with curved part of the chair back (if you have such a chair) providing support to lumbar region. If your chair has adjustable back rest, it should be moved up/down and tilted in/out as required.
  5. There should be a slight downward slope from hip to knee.
  6. Feet should be flat on the floor.
  7. Mouse should be as close to the workstation as possible to avoid awkward movements and stretching.
  8. Always sit with the keyboard & screen directly in front of you.
  9. Avoid twisting, stretching etc.
  10. Maintain good posture at all times.

Laptops

Most of us will be using laptops as we work from home. Due to their portable design, and some design compromises inherent in laptops, postural/musculoskeletal or other problems (e.g. bent back/neck due to the low position of the screen) may arise in their use. The following are recommended, where possible, to help reduce the risks:

  1. Avoid prolonged use, and take more frequent breaks.
  2. Use a desk or a firm surface of suitable height, and avoid placing it on your lap for prolong use as this affects your sitting posture.
  3. The height and position of the laptop’s screen should be angled so that you are able to sit comfortably. Use a laptop riser, or raiser blocks, to help raise the top of the screen to your eye level in order to avoid bending the neck/head. This will require a separate keyboard and mouse. 
  4. If you have a monitor at home, the laptop can be connected to this and used as a desktop computer. This will also require a separate keyboard and mouse.

Reusing Equipment - Laptops

If you have a laptop which has not been set up for remote working, IT Services will be asking for these to see if they can be utilised to meet current demand.  Do not bring these to IT Services yet, however please let us know and we will arrange with you when we need these dropped off at IT.  We will need these devices cleaned before we can look at them and can take up to 48 hours before the device can be made operational for remote working use.

Links to Applications

If you are a Team Manager and have staff who are otherwise well, but home isolating, some of the computer systems we have are available for use without a corporate laptop.

Systems staff can use to support home working:

  1. Technology One
  2. Clacks Academy
  3. iTrent Employee Self Service
  4. Occupational Health Portal
  5. Pentanna Risk Management

If home isolating staff have particular skills around Technology One, perhaps they could help you by raising requisitions and purchase orders remotely? Our suppliers are depending on prompt payments to enable them to keep their businesses afloat and staff employed. So if you / your staff can help, they would appreciate it.

Remote isolated workers can still participate in 1-2-1s and team meetings by using the Zoom Video Conference software. A user guide for Zoom can be found below.

Managers encourage all staff to try this out using mobile telephones to gain confidence using this new technology.

Staying connected with your colleagues while working from home

Most of us are currently working from home due to the ongoing pandemic. For some of us, working from home is something we may be used to but for others, and probably most of us, it is a completely new way of working.

Working from home comes with its own benefits, as well as challenges, even for people who do it routinely, and especially in times like this. Below are some simple tips to help you deal with some of these challenges, while boosting your own morale and wellbeing.

1. Keep yourself up-to-date - Make sure you keep yourself informed about what is going on, not only in your team, but in the organisation as a whole. We now have a staff portal on our main website which will be updated with the latest information from around the organisation. It also includes message from the Senior Leadership Team and cascade briefings.

2. Maintain good work-life balance - During this period of uncertainty and disruption to your normal routine, it is more important than ever that you maintain a good work-life balance by keeping a regular routine for working from home including: 

  • maintaining regular contact with your line manager and colleagues.
  • taking regular breaks.
  • avoiding being always on by ensuring you identify non-working time.
  • contacting our counselling service PAM Assist on 0800 8824102 if you are experiencing high levels of anxiety.
  • being aware of the things that can cause you poor wellbeing and carrying on with activities which can help with mentally and physically.

 More information and tips on coping through the Coronavirus lockdown can be found on the websites below: 

3. Keep in touch with your line manager and colleagues - During this period, it is important that you keep in touch with your team. Offer feedback and opinions where necessary, and bring to your line manager’s attention to any issues or problems so they can be addressed.

There are many ways of keeping in touch from Whats App group chats to Zoom video calls. If you haven't used Zoom before, you can use the guide below.

Video Conferencing - Microsoft Teams and Zoom

Microsoft Teams

Guidance on Setting Teams up

The link to install MS Teams can be found here  https://teams.microsoft.com 

You will need to install Teams outwith Citrix using a Google Chrome Browser.  Sign in using your works email address username@clacks.gov.uk followed by your Citrix/Active Directory/Windows Password   When prompted please select to set up a Work/School Account. 

MS Teams should currently only be installed on a laptop (Windows 10) or a mobile device - which can be either a work or personal device. 

If you are using a Council laptop in Kilncraigs, you may require Admin rights to your device. If you are using your Council laptop at home, please ensure that you install MS Teams prior to logging in to the VPN/CAG/Citrix

We suggest installing the Desktop App first, and then you will get a code to scan so that you can download the mobile App without having to repeat the process.

Please be aware that MS Teams install will not work on a Wyse terminal/Stratodesk and will NOT work within Citrix.

Council Staff who have already been set up with MS Teams will be able to join a meeting by opening Teams from their desktops (outwith Citrix/prior to logging in to the CAG).

Council Staff who have not yet been set up with MS Teams will be able to join a meeting by copying and pasting their invite to a browser - Google Chrome preferred - also outwith Citrix.

Council Staff will see their MS Teams invite in their Lotus Notes email/calendar as well as in their MS Teams Calendar.

Once installed, you can access information and training materials on using Teams.  We would encourage you to make full use of these materials.  If you have any issues installing Teams please email it@clacks.gov.uk and a member of the team will talk you through set-up. 

Further information and helpful guides and MS Teams Meeting Guidance for Guests document can be found by following the links. Note that the Guidance for Guests document was created by Stirling Council, but the information and guidance also applies to staff at Clackmannanshire Council.

Zoom

This is free Video Conferencing software.

You can download the Zoom application to your laptop, mobile or iPad/tablet from the App Store or Google Play.

When you first go to register the software use your @clacks.gov.uk email address and set a password. You will receive an email to your @clacks.gov.uk email account which you need to validate the account and then you are good to use the software.

We currently do not have the software working within Citrix and some Council laptops but it works very well on iPads and smartphones.

The Zoom online tutorials are very useful. Quick start user guides to follow.

  • Ensure you connect to Wi-Fi  (Clacks Guest or your home Wi-Fi) before you do this to save your data plan and get a better quality connection.
  • Check team members phone numbers are correctly recorded in your smartphone.
  • NEVER file share documents across these services that are sensitive or contain private personal data.  

If you require any IT Support downloading or using Zoom, please email IT@clacks.gov.uk

Staying "Cyber Safe" 

With more staff working remotely, its more important than ever that you protect yourself against cyber criminals. 

You should: 

Protect you Password

It’s important to choose a strong separate password for each of your online accounts. Cyber criminals can use your email to access many of your personal accounts, leaving you vulnerable to theft.
Using a password manager can help you create and remember passwords.

Use Screen Locks

Always use a screen lock or password to protect phones, tablets and laptops. This offers your devices an extra layer of security.

Look out for "Phishing" Emails

Most of us have heard the term "phishing" but do we really know what it means? It’s an online scam where criminals send an email that appears to be from a legitimate company asking for sensitive information.

If you receive an uninvited email approach, never give out personal or financial details and never click on any links.

Be aware of Hi-Fi Hotspots

Cyber criminals can set up Wi-Fi hotspots enabling them to intercept and steal the data you send online. Never send confidential or financial information over unfamiliar Wi-Fi.

Always have a Back-Up

Information held on your computer could be irreplaceable. Backing up your data often will ensure that you have more than one copy and could recover data quickly.
You can back up your most important data, such as photos and key documents, by backing them up to an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage system.

Install software and application updates

Cyber criminals use weaknesses in software and apps to attack your devices. Software and app updates contain vital security updates to help protect your devices from cyber criminals.

Video Conferencing

 If you are using video conferencing to keep in touch with colleagues or friends you should ensure that you: 

  • create a strong password when installing a video conferencing app for the first time and track who is joining the chat.
  • do not make meetings public and only connect only to people through your contacts or address book.
  • never post the link or password for meetings publicly.

The NCSC have more infromation on stayinng cyber secure on their website. 

Working at home (Non Voluntarily)

You may be able to claim tax relief for some of the bills you have to pay because you have to work at home on a regular basis. You cannot claim tax relief if you choose to work from home.

You can only claim for things to do with your work, for example, business telephone calls or the extra cost of gas, electricity and heating for your work area.

You cannot claim for things that you use for both private and business use, for example, rent or broadband access.

You can check your eligibility to claim by clicking the link here. If eligible, you will need a Government Gateway User ID and password to access your Personal Tax Account.