Now that the coronavirus pandemic of 2020/2021 is a year old in the United States, many workers have been forced into remote office work. As a practicing chiropractor of over 36 years, I’ve had many patients who are in this position. I recently had a patient who has been remoting gave me some interesting information about what her company is doing to help. This article will describe what her company is doing to help employees who are working from home. Some of these ideas might be examples other businesses could implement and will also be applicable to anyone who is self-employed and for those whose companies won’t participate in improving their home employment situation.
At the beginning of the pandemic lock down my patient, Beth, told me that her group of 10 people who work for a very large corporation in our city, were given laptop computers and software/internet access and told to work from home. Within a couple weeks they were all finding that they we’re beginning to have neck and back pain and headaches. They also found that their productivity was greatly diminished. They communicated this information back to their human resources department which resulted in positive action.
The company consulted ergonomics experts on what to do to improve things. The first step was to have a Zoom meeting with the 10 employees to find out problems they were having. The first recommendation was to set up a designated office area. A proper desk and chair, optimum screen height and keyboard and mouse location were initially recommended.
Regular follow up Zoom meetings were scheduled and further helpful ideas such as a sit/stand desk, standing and walking team conferences and phone calls and taking regular breaks to get up from the desk and move about were encouraged.
The team found that regular counseling from the ergonomic experts and from within their own group helped to provide valuable support. The team members themselves, developed some creative ideas for improvement. For example, several advancements were: having a soft light in the work area to reduce eyestrain, having a yoga/stretching mat to use periodically during the day to help counteract the physical stress of sitting, and a using large exterior monitor was much better than the screen of their laptop computer.
Beth’s company also pitched in with an initial monetary investment to help set up the home office and continued with a monthly stipend. Increased productivity within the group of 10 made this financial contribution a valuable return on investment.
Beth, her group, and her corporation found that by utilizing and implementing many ideas, developed over time, helped convert their makeshift home offices to makeover comfortable, productive, nearly ideal workspaces.