Address Ergonomic Problems Before Remote Work Becomes a Costly Risk
Last spring, workplaces across the world closed as COVID-19 spread. Millions of employees made the overnight shift to working from home, some from their couch, kitchen table or bedroom floor.
一年来，那些员工的良好百分比仍在远程工作research表明大多数人希望至少部分地继续这样做，一旦大流行结束了。雇主也拥抱了新的正常，有些major companiesextending their remote work policies and expressing willingness to allow at least some of their people to shift to a permanent work-from-home status.
From flexible working hours to better work-life balance, the benefits of remote work for employees are numerous. Companies can also benefit from a more engaged and productive workforce and reduced costs. But the shift to remote work doesn’t come without potential pitfalls, including the risk of an increase in ergonomic injuries.
Ergonomic-related discomfort is already on the rise, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. As employees in the U.S. worked more hours to keep up with their workload while taking care of their families, almost halfreportednew or increased pain in their shoulders, back or wrists. Similarly, British home-based workersreportedan increase in new aches and pains, especially in the neck, shoulders and back.
Whether companies are planning a full return to the office or extending their remote-work policies, employers should consider how to help their people reduce the risk of injuries, both ergonomic and otherwise.
虽然提供了关于设定的指导，但是正确的工作站是一个重要的开始，雇主应记住，许多员工可能没有合适的设备来创造足够的工作空间，可能不愿意或无法做出金融投资。考虑到雇主保存约11,000美元for each employee who works at home 50% of the time, companies may want to consider providing their people with financial assistance to set up an ergonomically correct workstation that can help minimize the risk of MSD injuries.
Focus on Education
Financial assistance on its own is rarely enough to stem the risk of MSD injuries. Even the best equipment, when not properly used, can lead to injury. Employers, irrespective of whether they are granting financial aid, should also focus on providing learning resources geared toward helping their people set up an ergonomically correct workspace at their home, especially sinceresearchshows that 43% of employees have not taken action to improve their at-home workspace.
Crucially, employers should communicate the importance of taking regular short breaks. With no commute, many employees are working longer hours and often forego a proper break. But there are benefits in standing up and stretching muscles, even if it requires setting a timer as a reminder to do so. While employers cannot force their people to take a break, they should regularly communicate the importance of doing so to let their employees know this is not only allowed, but recommended.
现在是时候to Review Your Ergonomics Program
The past year has shown how quickly the world may need to revert to a remote working model. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, employers need to be prepared for the next crisis that may require their people to work from home. Now is the time to look back at what worked in the past year and the challenges that need to be addressed, before a remote working plan needs to be implemented.