Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed many things about how our society is organized. From online classes, to wearing masks in public, to working from the guest bedroom, the last year and a half has certainly shifted many things in our daily lives. With vaccine rollout and COVID-19 cases finally beginning to subside, most of us are eager for things to get back to normal. Though public spaces are slowly opening back up, there are some COVID-specific changes that may well continue into the post-COVID world.
A new study released by Harvard Business School looked at the trends of pandemic-induced remote workers and their employers. The study suggests that at least 16 percent of workers who were forced into working from home during the pandemic will remain at-home workers long after the COVID-19 crisis has receded.
Global Workplace Analytics says that “based on historical trends, those who were working remotely before the pandemic will increase their frequency after they are allowed to return to their offices. For those who were new to remote work until the pandemic, we believe there will be a significant upswing in their adoption. Our best estimate is that we will see 25-30% of the workforce working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis by the end of 2021.”
Both employers and employees are finding that working from home offers a number of advantages including a better work-life balance and less commute stress for workers. For businesses, a remote workforce allows for savings on office overhead and lowering the environmental footprint of the company. Unfortunately, many employees who work from home do not have the proper, dedicated home office space to get their work done. A lack of a comfortable workstation often leads workers to work from the couch, the bed, or some other area where ergonomic injuries can occur.
An article published last year by the New York Times finds that “92 percent of chiropractors (out of 213 respondents) said that patients report more neck pain, back pain or other musculoskeletal issues since the stay-at-home orders began.”
So what can business owners and managers do to help their at-home workers avoid potentially devastating musculoskeletal disorders?
Working-From-Home Ergonomics 101: Best Practices For Your At-Home Workers
First of all, companies with a large percentage of at-home workers should offer proper training for their workforce in ergonomics while working from home. This training should focus on correct posture while working in front of a computer, including proper height and distance from the screen.
Also, to avoid eye strain and long-term vision problems, employers should also encourage their remote workers to follow the 20/20/20 rule: “For every 20 minutes spent looking at a computer screen, you should spend 20 seconds looking at something else 20 feet away. This gives your eye muscles a break and helps reduce eye strain.”
Secondly, businesses might consider investing in proper ergonomic tools to provide their at-home workers with the best ergonomic options on the market. This might include dual screen monitors, standing desks, ergonomic office chairs, and other tools that can help your workers stay comfortable and healthy while working from home.
Your company is most likely saving money on office overhead costs by employing at-home workers. Investing in ergonomic tools for those remote workers is one way to improve company culture and worker satisfaction even from a distance.
Providing your workers with these ergonomic tips and tools for working from home should lead to a reduction in employee discomfort and potential long-term musculoskeletal disorders.
Of course, more comfortable and healthy workers will also be more productive, thus helping your business to achieve its goals and targets.
Support Your Work-From-Home Staff With Work-Fit
Lastly, your company should also consider hiring specialists with experience in workplace injury management as a way to reduce costs from remote worker ergonomic injuries while also improving the productivity levels of your workforce. Work-Fit is a leading onsite injury prevention and management for your workforce.
We have years of experience in helping businesses from all different industries to create and implement onsite and virtual holistic injury prevention programs. Our ergonomics program can help your company generate savings on workers’ compensation by identifying the root cause of recurrent musculoskeletal disorders that keeps valuable workers away from the job.
Contact Work-Fit today to see how we can help your company develop a customized ergonomics program for your at-home workers.