Ergonomics and Remote Work


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In an effort to stem the number of coronavirus infections, millions of Americans are now working from home, transforming kitchen tables and bedrooms into temporary home offices. Many are working under less-than-ideal ergonomic conditions—a kitchen chair that’s too low, a table that’s too high. While working on a laptop for a short time is fine, using one for longer periods (like the full workday), will not do wonders for your body.

Ergonomics Dos and Don’ts for Those Now Working from Home

It’s not enough to only protect necks, elbows and wrists from physical strain — workers must also protect their brains from too much “cognitive strain,” Adams says. Set a timer every hour and use that to get up from the workstation, do a few stretches, and get the blood flowing. Getting the body moving a bit can help employees remain healthy, focused and on top of productivity. For employees who work remotely, communicate with them about the tips and tools they can use to stay safe, comfortable, and productive while at home.

  • Take the time to carefully consider your home office ergonomics when working remotely.
  • Following the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work became increasingly more common and has been incorporated into many organizations.
  • It’s easy to work on your laptop for a few hours on the weekend, but doing so for 40-plus hours a week can lead to back, shoulder, and neck strain.

Remote workers can create an ergonomic workspace that promotes comfort, productivity, and health by following these tips. It is important for remote workers to take responsibility for their health and make the necessary adjustments to their workspace to prevent health issues and promote well-being. An ergonomic keyboard and mouse can reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive #straininjuries. An ergonomic keyboard should be angled to reduce strain on the wrists, and an #ergonomicmouse should fit comfortably in hand and allow for #naturalmovement. The right chair is one of the most important factors in creating an ergonomic workspace.

Support Your Spine

When working, always try to do so from a space in your home that promotes good ergonomics and supports your productivity. As your team works from home, make sure your employees practice good ergonomics at home to reduce injuries and increase productivity. Sometimes space within the home is limited and office space may double as a dining space, kitchen counter or general use area. Remembering this acronym will help you when working at your office or home maintain productivity and more importantly, reduce injury risk.

Embracing these responsibilities are a hallmark of responsible and forward-thinking employers. Stretching helps to alleviate muscle tension, improve flexibility, and promote blood circulation. Simple neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, and wrist stretches can make a significant difference in reducing discomfort and enhancing overall wellbeing. Consider setting a timer to remind yourself to take short stretch breaks every hour. The ONS has reported that 9.9 million people now work from home in the UK.

How to Choose a Chair for Working at Home

As COVID-19 spiked around the world in early 2020, companies shifted en masse toward remote work. Many organizations were telling themselves a story that things would revert to normal once the COVID-19 threat waned, but two-plus years later, it is clear the pandemic marked a turning point—not a brief pause in how we do business. The latest insights in tech, business, and leadership straight to your inbox each month. “The cognitive load can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not used to having that kind of interaction in your workday,” Adams says.

They can also use an anti-glare screen or wear computer glasses to reduce the strain on their eyes. No matter what you choose as your “desk,” your keyboard and mouse should be at elbow height when you are seated. Sit at the desk, hold your arms naturally and comfortably at your sides, then bend your elbows.

DON’T turn your couch into a workstation

Whether working onsite or telecommuting, proper workstation ergonomics are important for safety and well-being. All staff should take care to properly set up and adjust their workstation to allow neutral ergonomic postures to the extent possible. Laptops are often the primary work tool for remote work, but pose postural concerns if used without external devices for extended periods of time. Social distancing still can be followed by using remote or virtual ergonomic assessment techniques where ergonomists can obtain the most pertinent information to recommend an optimum workstation setup. If you’re not used to standing all day, don’t jump into the first day of a standing desk by using it for eight hours straight! Start with 30 minutes a day and gradually increase your standing time.

Remote Work Ergonomics Tips to Use

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