COVID-19 DSE Guidance 

Guidance for managers/supervisors and employees (including PGT,PhD and PGR students not including undergraduates).

It is recognised that, by following Government guidance, that many staff and students are continuing to work from home, however it is also recognised that some staff are working on campus.

These exceptional circumstances may mean, that for some, the DSE set up is not the same as the normal working environment, either due to home working or working within different offices or workstations than usual.

It is good practice for all staff and students to review their current workstation setup by following the guidance provided and also complete a DSE Self-Assessment ‌.The documents below contain useful advice and information about setting up a workstation and helps to identify any additional needs. 

In many instances the majority of adjustments can be made by applying inventiveness and flexibility to adjust a working setup to suit your needs, this will include taking more frequent, breaks throughout the working day to maintain physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. This may have an adverse effect on an individual’s perception of productivity; however wellbeing is of paramount importance. 

For those staff and students that either have reasonable adjustments in place for campus working, with specialist DSE or work equipment, already provided or are in need of specialist DSE or work equipment as new issues have developed, every effort will be made to provide these items to a home address or on campus location. Where this is not possible, Managers/Supervisors will work with staff and students to establish a suitable alternative. Alternatives include a review of working arrangements/workload or a return to campus working where appropriate.

Everyone needs to be mindful that some equipment may not be available either due to depleted University stock or items are not available to purchase direct from suppliers. Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 timescales, the priority will be to set up safer ways of working without the need to procure new equipment if there are extensive time delays.

If, having completed a self-assessment, you experience significant difficulties in setting up your home workstation please contact the Health & Safety Team to arrange a one-to-one telephone assessment (via Teams).

We strongly discourage downloading and storing any documents locally as there are periodically reviewed and updated - latest versions will always be available on this webpage.


The DSE self-assessment is a checklist for staff and students to use to ensure that workstations are set up to the best of their ability, to reduce the risk of pain and ill health that can be associated with the use of Display Screen Equipment (DSE). Everyone is required to carry out a DSE self-assessment to ascertain whether assistance is required.

It must be recognised and acknowledged that for those that continue to work from home, despite having equipment and technology a perfect working setup (as on campus) may not be achievable.

NB: The DSE Self-Assessment form is an excel workbook which contains a number of worksheets for different working set-ups (see bottom of the page) e.g. office, dining/kitchen table or lounge chair.  Please ensure you select the most appropriate worksheet pertaining to your workstation set-up as the questions and guidance within each worksheet are slightly different. 

If, having completed a DSE Self-Assessment‌, you experience significant difficulties in setting up your homework station please contact the Health & Safety team to arrange a one to one telephone assessment (via Microsoft Teams). 

 After the workstation set-up guidance has been followed and the DSE Self -Assessment‌‌ checklist has been completed additional equipment may be required.

Noted below are instructions on how to acquire equipment on loan direct from the University's stock or purchased from suppliers to be sent directly to a home address or campus location.

NB: All requests made by staff or students to loan equipment for home use must be approved by the line Manager/Supervisor. Where purchase is required College/Service Key Contacts need to be informed to facilitate the process. The Health & Safety Team  will be able to provide advice and guidance with reference to purchasing appropriate equipment for more specialised or complex requirements. 


Delivery (direct from Suppliers):‌

College/Service Key Contacts

Occupational Health

More information on wellbeing whilst working from home can be found on the Occupational Health web page linked below

Breaks and exercises

It is recommended that DSE Users have regular interruptions from screen work to prevent the onset of eye strain, and musculoskeletal pain. Therefore, periods of 5 minutes of alternative work activity every hour should be organised during the working day. This could include a change of task from DSE use to other tasks and taking time out to exercise.


* When viewing the Desk Exercises (Sally Gunnell videos), hover the mouse over the image of Sally Gunnell on each slide and the video will activate and a play bar will appear below the image for you to see Sally demonstrating the exercise described in the adjacent text.

Other hints and tips

Prior to requesting an eye-care voucher, you are expected to complete the DSE Self-Assessment (dated August 2020) and share the outcome with your line manager in the first instance and any high scoring outcomes with the H&S Team to request additional advice and guidance if required via:

The way that applications for eye-care vouchers is administered changed on 1st September 2020. Instead of sending an application form (PD41) to the Health & Safety Team along with your completed DSE Self-Assessment, you can submit a request for an eye-care voucher direct to Specsavers via a link which is imbedded within the DSE Self-Assessment form (dated August 2020).

Specsavers are open for booking appointments, further information on how they are keeping their stores safe can be found on the Specsavers website. Vouchers  expire after a year and that  date that starts to count down from the date they’re issued so we encourage you to use the voucher soon after you receive it from Specsavers.

Vouchers are issued via an auto email from Specsavers, if you don’t receive an email within a few days of submitting a request for a voucher please check your spam/junk folder.


Occupational Health have working from home advice and support for colleagues including those with disabilities, vulnerabilities and mental health concerns 


The Positive Working Environment (PWE) group at the University has created some helpful and engaging guides to help with the transition to working from home:

•   Home Working SWAY 
•   Leading teams SWAY 
•   Keeping Healthy Yammer 
•   Disability guidance 
•   Specific Guidance for Parents/Guardians and Carers  


Looking for some fitness inspiration? A group has been created on our University of Exeter Sport Facebook Page where you will need to request to join the group in order see and interact with our daily posts.Head to our Health & Fitness Facebook page to access a weekly timetable of activities and tutorials. Our fantastic fitness staff are leading live workouts including Pilates, Bite-size Ballet, Metcon, Yoga and many more. They will also be posting specific tutorials on strength and conditioning, core work, how to run a faster 5K, ‘pre-habilitation’ work and a whole range of fitness inspired videos.