As companies adopt long-term remote working practices, it is important that workers are comfortable in their home office environments. In this post, we look at how leaders can implement good ergonomic tips for remote workers.
In the immediate rush from offices to homes, it was acceptable and efficient to work from the dining table or even the sofa. With more companies adopting long-term remote working practices, it is important that workers are comfortable in their home-office environments.
Implementing good ergonomics when working at home is important. Working long hours in a poor ergonomic workspace not only results in less productivity but can also lead to many health problems. In fact, doctors and specialists have seen an increase in injuries due to poor workspace. Therefore, it is vital that leaders ensure staff are working from a safe, comfortable, and productive environment.
Ergonomic Tips for Remote Workers
1. Ensure the remote worker works from a dedicated workspace
While workers are responsible for their own health and safety at home, employers need to ensure they have the correct home set-up to do their job. Working in an awkward position for long hours is uncomfortable and can lead to back, neck, and shoulder problems. Ideally, long-term remote workers need a dedicated workspace that is warm, well-lit, and spacious to perform their jobs efficiently.
2. Perform a risk assessment on the worker’s home office
Employers should complete risk assessments of home offices. A risk assessment will help to identify any hazards in a workspace. Leaders can choose to perform a self-assessment or employ an ergonomics consultant. Either way, making improvements to a remote workspace will help in the long run.
3. Provide the right equipment
Working in a poor ergonomic space can lead to many injuries. In fact, doctors have seen an increase in people experiencing increased back, neck, shoulder, and joint pain since they started working from home. By providing the right equipment, workers can work pain-free at home. Through a risk assessment, leaders will receive tips and advice on how to improve remote workspaces, such as:
- Using an external monitor with a laptop: Using an external monitor improves posture and helps prevents eye strain. If it is not feasible to provide an external monitor, leaders should ensure their remote workers have adjusted their laptops to alleviate the strain on the head, neck, and eyes.
- Wireless mouse and keyboard: Using the laptop’s touchpad regularly can lead to wrist pain or injuries. Providing an external mouse and keyboard makes it more efficient to work.
- An adjustable chair with back support: On average, remote workers have worked longer hours during the pandemic. So, a proper chair with lumbar support is definitely needed to prevent long-term back pain.
- Ensure the space is well-lit and ventilated: The workspace should be in a well-lit, warm, and ventilated area of the home. Working in dark spaces can cause eye strain. If necessary, the addition of a table lamp may be needed to improve the light in the space.
Many injuries can be caused by improper workplace environments. Implementing the recommendations from risk assessments can help keep workers healthy while they work from home.
4. Take regular breaks from the workspace
While working in an office, workers naturally move around the room to attend meetings or speak to a colleague. When working from home, there are fewer opportunities for movement. Therefore, taking short breaks regularly throughout the day is advised. Getting up and moving around regularly is beneficial to improve a person’s health.
Additionally, workers should aim to take walks during their lunch breaks. Being out in the fresh air helps clear their minds of work tasks and provides a break from long workdays.
5. Implement a clear communication strategy
Finally, leaders need to have a clear communication strategy for their remote workers. Lack of regular communication can lead to feelings of isolation and ultimately lack of motivation.
To ensure their remote workers are engaged and productive, regular check-ins are necessary. Taking the time to catch up using either a video call or message allows leaders to gauge their workers’ moods and ensure progress is being made.
Whether a company is implementing a temporary, permanent, or flexible remote-working policy, employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers. When someone is working from home, it is vital for employers to implement comfortable home office ergonomics as well as provide the necessary equipment to complete tasks. By adopting good ergonomics, people can work comfortably, avoid injury, and improve their productivity.