The way I see it, working from home is now, and likely will be in the future, a new model for many workers. As we put more information into digital format, enjoy higher speed internet in more communities, and become used to video-conferencing in our extended relationships, we realize more clearly every day how much we can communicate and provide from our home offices.
Now, more than ever, how my home office is set up will determine my ongoing health. Headaches, neck strain, wrist pain, back tension - these are all things that likely will crop up if my home office is not planned with ergonomics in mind.
What is 'ergonomics'?
WorkSafeBC says "Ergonomics is about interactions between people and their physical and organizational environments. When people's workplace conditions and job demands match their capabilities, safety and productivity improve. Ergonomics can reduce the risk of strains and sprains and other related musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs). MSI is the most common work-related injury in B.C." The goal of ergonomics is to eliminate discomfort and risk of injury due to work tasks.
What types of injuries are MSIs?
MSI can be experienced anywhere in the body and are disorders of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, nerves, and blood vessels. Think of the many bones, tendons and ligaments in your hands and fingers; now think of how much you use them and what an 'overuse injury' would mean for you!
What is an Ergonomic Assessment?
An ergonomic assessment is usually conducted in your home office. An experienced practitioner measures, adjusts and observes you completing your most common work tasks. Lighting, ventilation and seating are all considered in relation to making sure your work setting at home is as effective as possible. is the basis of work space design or modification: making the work (and equipment) fit for the worker.
Many employers provide ergonomic work stations (sit / stand desks, split keyboards, large monitors) for their staff in the workplace but these are not often transferred to the 'working from home' environment. With COVID surrounding us, and new orders from Dr. Henry to return to working from home for the foreseeable future, ergonomic assessment and recommendations is more important now than ever.
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