Two years into the pandemic, working from home has become the norm. The percentage of people working from home doubled in 2021, and by 2025, nearly three-quarters of the workforce may work from home at least five days a month.
Making sure your workers have ergonomic home offices helps them perform their jobs better. A safe, efficient workspace benefits everyone. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, almost a third of dollars spent on workers’ compensation stem from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) associated with improper ergonomics. Improved ergonomics can reduce injuries and boost your company’s productivity.
Help your workers increase at-home workplace health and safety by sharing the tips in our “How to set up your office” video, which explains how to assess the five primary elements of an at-home office for optimal ergonomics. Then read our bonus tips on desk organization at the end of this article.
Adjust the height of the chair so your feet rest on the floor. But don’t stop there. Also:
Position the chair close enough to the desk that you don’t need to reach for your keyboard or mouse. Use a footrest if your feet can’t reach the floor.
Ergonomic desks can guard your elbows, shoulders and wrists against overuse injuries. Use this quick exercise to find the optimal position at your workstation:
Proper positioning of the arms can reduce contact stress on the soft tissues in your wrists and forearms. Your elbows should bend at 90 degrees when you type on your keyboard.
Your wrists should stay flat, forming straight lines from your elbows to your fingertips.
Pretend like you’re playing the piano. Relax your shoulders while you type, and keep your fingers floating above the keyboard.
Using the mouse correctly will reduce stress on your wrist, elbow, neck and shoulders. A few do’s and don’ts:
Do you use two monitors? Here’s the secret to an ergonomic setup: Place the monitors at angles and align yourself so that when you look straight ahead, you see where the monitors meet. Keep the tops of the monitors at eye level, and use books or risers to move them up if you need extra height.
If the majority of your work is one on one of your two monitors, align yourself so your primary monitor is straight ahead and the other is positioned off to the side. They should be as close to each other as possible and angled towards you.
Preventing awkward movements can also cut down on MSDs. Position the things on your desk so that you can reach them without straining. If you spend a lot of time on the telephone, use a hands-free set to avoid neck pain. If you have employees who input data, encourage them to set the data documents on a holder or prop them on a three-ring binder to avoid neck strain.
Discover other tips for keeping your employees safe on the Pinnacol blog. You can also email a Pinnacol safety consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions about ergonomics.