Previous forecasts of a one- or two-week period of working from home are currently being extending for the foreseeable future, with some predicting several months before people can return to the offices.
What this means for employers is that they should carry out proper risk assessment on their employees’ home working environment to ensure that their health and wellbeing is catered for. Without the proper set up and equipment, there could be a sharp increase of high-risk cases from workers and their health may be put at risk.
Many employees who are fortunate enough have received funding from their employers to help them set up their workstations at home. The reality of this is employees have little or no knowledge on what they should purchase, how to put equipment together or how-to layout their equipment in an ergonomic format.
Take for example the images below, employees received an allowance to purchase working from home equipment during the covid-19 period. Without any guidance or instructions, they now have the following set ups.
As you can see from the images above, when people are not educated on ergonomics this set up will cause a lot of issues as they are unaware of what equipment they should be choosing. Desks are not put together properly, the set up is likely to cause neck, back and eye strain due to chairs not being ergonomically adjusted and the laptop and monitors aren't at the correct height.
A proper working from home set up should include:
A keyboard, mouse and laptop stand
Being hunched over a laptop can cause serious posture issues and discomfort, getting a keyboard, mouse and laptop stand is an instant way to easily improve your workspace. You will quickly notice the difference after a long day’s work when the pressure is taken off your neck, shoulders and back.
An adjustable seat with support
After a mouse, keyboard and laptop stand, an adjustable chair with proper lumbar support is the most important piece of equipment. You may have purchased any old office chair, but you can also probably feel the difference in relation to support. A proper chair will give your body the correct posture, encourage moment, and improve focus and productivity. A cheap office chair may be a short-term solution, but an ergonomic office chair will help reduce back pain in the long term.
A suitable desk
Many of us may be limited on space when it comes to purchasing desks when working from home. There are easily solutions to turn standard tables into sit stand solutions or simply adding an under desk tray to free up some more space for employees that may already have obtained a desk.
How can I make sure employees are buying the proper equipment?
Pre-approved equipment lists are a great way to ensure employees are purchasing what they need from home. The lists are approved by the company and sent out to the employees who can then make the correct purchases themselves. This can give companies peace of mind knowing that their employees have a risk-free work environment.
What if my employees have already purchased equipment?
This may be the case for many companies. Employees may have already spent allowances allocated to them on equipment. The main issue here is that they may not know how to set it up properly or they may require small additional items to help them get their working from home environment to a comfortable level. Small additions may include a footrest, laptop stand, lumbar support etc.
An easy way to identify this is by enabling your employees to carry out self-assessments of their home workstations. This allows you them to set up their equipment properly and allows you to see if any additional equipment is required.
Make working at home better for your employees
Giving employees funds to set up their own workstation isn’t something that shouldn’t be done, but providing them with the proper information and training is something that should be done to help them with their purchases and to eliminate any injuries in the home.
The current situation of having employees working from home may be a daunting experience for many. At KOS ergonomics we are here to help. From homeworking equipment to ergonomic software, we have everything you need to help your employees get set up comfortably and risk free at home.
Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information