As current events have made congregating in an office irresponsible and hazardous, many companies are sustaining their operations by enabling remote work. While we normally focus on how you should properly take care of your technology, we wanted to shift our focus momentarily to the people using this technology, and how they can do so more safely.
To do so, we have to consider ergonomics.
What is Ergonomics?
While it may be a buzzword nowadays, ergonomics began as a philosophy to help your employees work more effectively. The basic idea was that a comfortably positioned employee was more capable of being productive than one who was uncomfortable, simply because the distraction that was to potentially be caused by their discomfort was no longer impacting them.
While many might assume the opposite, this is potentially far easier in the workplace than it is elsewhere, like someone’s living space.
Think about it—most offices are furnished with workstations, desk chairs, and technology meant to be used in a workplace. Each of these things are often designed with long-term use and productivity in mind. Unlike a vast majority of the items that your employees will have at home, these furnishings are therefore built in such a way that your team members will be encouraged to sit in what is referred to as a “neutral position.” This position is meant to mitigate much of the pain and tension that can set in when someone is stationary for some time, as they likely are in the office.
However, while the workplace has furniture meant to promote this kind of position, the home usually doesn’t. After all, the difference is easy to see when one looks at their workstation in the office and compares it to the chairs and tables found at their home. How many people have a recliner at their office desk, or a dining room table that can convert to a standing buffet? While maintaining the proper posture while working from home can be challenging, it isn’t impossible to do.
Basic Ergonomic Best Practices
To make sure that you are going home with the right idea of how you should be working, let’s revisit the neutral position for a moment. When seated at a workstation, a neutral posture should include:
- Your head held straight up and supported by the neck
- Your back well-supported by your chair
- Your shoulders relaxed
- Your wrists held straight
- Your limbs either held straight or bent at a 90-degree angle
- Your thighs resting parallel to the floor
- Your monitor at your eye level or just slightly below it.
Now, while office equipment makes all of this relatively simple to achieve, your home furnishings may not… at least, not without a little bit of improvisation.
Making It Work
There are a few simple adjustments that your employees can make, especially with your support, in order to make use of the neutral position.
For instance, if their monitor is too low, they could simply stack some books or boxes to raise it to the appropriate height. If they happen to have a laptop, making sure they have the peripherals to add to the onboard keyboard and mouse ensures that this fix is still practicable. Kitchen chairs can have their height and support levels adjusted with pillows, and if feet are left dangling, a small stool or another box can be used to stabilize them.
It is important to remember that they themselves are an asset to their work, so it is just as important for them to take care of themselves as it is for them to take care of their workstations. This will help you optimize any work done remotely for your business.
Meanwhile, One Up Solutions Northwest can help you acquire and manage the equipment and other solutions you need to make a remote workforce a viable option for you. Give us a call at (503) 278-5011 to learn more.