With more and more employees working from home, workplace safety extends from the office to the home. One of our work-from-home ergonomics assessments took place with an office worker Danielle whose workplace environment had shifted from the office to her home. Here is her experience of the assessment and the benefits both Danielle and her employer received from the service.
My role is in an office where I sit at a desk for most of the day. When I was advised my workplace location was to change my first thought was do I have all the right equipment to work from home? The only way to gauge this was to understand what equipment I currently have and wherein the home I was going to set up my workstation.
Luckily my spare room with a desk and chair was my chosen location, had I not had this option, the kitchen bench or dining room table was Plan B. I had my work laptop, mobile phone, and wifi, surely that would have been sufficient? Would there be a need to purchase expensive ergonomically designed equipment, I hope not.
My employer requested I have a home ergonomics assessment to ensure my new work environment was set up ergonomically friendly and protected me from any potential harm or injury. In my eyes, I saw this as a great offer from the business and felt my employer cared for me. From the employer’s point of view, they saw this as a valuable service to protect the worker from any harm or injury and to save the business from any future workers’ compensation claims. It’s important for the employer to provide a safe working environment for their workers no matter where they are performing their role.
I had decided to prepare my new home office workstation with a couple of more items including a wireless mouse and a footrest. The first day in my new work environment my employer had scheduled a virtual online ergonomics assessment with a workplace ergonomics expert. I wasn’t sure what to expect and would it be successful not being face-to-face?
After discussing the tasks my role plays, the ergonomics assessor provided a brief overview of the importance of workplace ergonomics, how it transitions into the work-from-home environment and how to utilise current office equipment without having to spend a large fortune for new items. I was also asked whether I use a vehicle for my role, as an ergonomics assessment can be conducted for vehicle use as well.
Firstly, I moved my phone video camera around the desk and chair and the assessor began to evaluate the equipment and setup. I was pleased to hear the desk and chair were satisfactory and I was recommended a laptop stand to raise the laptop screen, so I could position my eye-line to the top third of the screen, this is the comfortable and safe level for screen time. I placed a box underneath the laptop until I could organise a proper laptop stand. Now, the laptop was raised, I’d need a wireless keyboard, the mouse I already had.
Next, my chair and my body position were examined. The assessor recognised the chair and introduced a couple of adjustments, plus a leaver was used that I hadn’t seen before! The introduction of the footrest was spot-on. Rolling the chair towards the desk and placing my feet on the footrest was followed by stretching out my arms towards the screen so the tips of my fingers could touch, this is the ideal screen position. After a few alternations, I was provided with some exercises to use throughout the day for comfort and injury prevention.
The 30-minute virtual ergonomics consultation resulted in myself feeling confident, comfortable, educated, and provided me with injury-free prevention in my new working environment. The cost-saving strategies will help my employer in reducing costs and keeping their workforce safe and healthy. The tips and exercises were valuable as I have incorporated them into my daily routine.
My employer received a report on the workplace ergonomics assessment which included recommendations. A check-up in 6 months was suggested in case any changes may have occurred.
The work-from-home ergonomics assessment was a great experience. I highly recommend these assessments and training should be included in all new starter’s inductions and reviews of existing employees.