When work-from-home (WFH) started at the beginning of the pandemic, many employees assumed it was temporary.
That meant, if they had ergonomic problems with their WFH set-up, they didn’t complain much.
Now we’re having more complaints, injuries and workers’ comp claims.
How do you support ergonomics when you aren’t in the same place as the employee?
We can’t control employees’ WFH set-ups, but we can provide them with options that are available.
Not everyone has sit-stand desks
Just as you would do in the office, the goal is for employees to have neutral postures.
A lot of people are working on dining room tables and other furniture not meant for office use.
Among the most common problems:
- The work surface is too high
- No office chairs at home
- Hands and arms aren’t in the right positions
- Workers are looking down at their screens, causing neck strain
- There’s no back rest, and
- Too much pressure on wrists from poor typing positions.
Some may think there’s a catch-all solution: Get a sit-stand adjustable desk. But the reality is that most employees won’t have access to one.
So how can we do a little better?
Here are some steps to take to alleviate these problems:
- If they’re using a laptop, make sure they have accessories such as a keyboard, mouse and monitor
- Make sure they have a good desk chair
- Encourage WFH employees to look at alternate work surfaces such as card tables, a kids’ art table, and other options that will help them work at a better height
- Have them use stands or even a small box if their laptop is their primary screen
- Suggest they use a standing-height counter, at least part of the time
- If they’ll be on the phone, get them a headset, and
- Encourage workers to build movement into their days; if possible, switch between sitting and standing, and set a phone timer for every 30 minutes to get up and stretch.
(Based on presentation by Jeremy Wilzbacher, Sr. Consultant, Aon, Lander, WY, at ASSP’s September 2021 conference)