The COVID-19 pandemic forced many employees to work remotely when it had never been an option before. While not suited for every profession, remote work seemed to, well, work. Some companies are opting to keep their employees at home permanently, which raises a few questions.

How does your work form home work station impact your ability to work?

What if these employees don’t have an ideal work set up? Perhaps they had to use the kitchen counter as a workstation, or the dining room table. Many of us have desks at home, but an actual “home office” is less likely. How does remote work look long term with a less-than-ideal set up?

An April 2020 survey by the Institute for Employment Studies found that when employees started working from home, those who responded had new aches and pains: 58% had neck pain, 56% had shoulder pain, and 55% had back pain.

The survey also found that a healthy diet and exercise declined, in addition to a lack of quality sleep, for those working from home where these may not have been issues previously.

What can I do to improve my work from home environment?

Employers can play a role in preventing worker’s compensation claims by taking a few proactive steps.

  1. Provide ergonomic support. This could mean sending a professional (like a physical therapist!) to evaluate your employee’s home workstations and update it to avoid new aches and pains.
  2. Encourage your employees to stay active and to take breaks to walk, stretch, or drink water. Many employees will burn the midnight oil and work longer hours from home, so ensuring they stay healthy is crucial to keeping them around.
  3. Provide options for self-care. If an employee has mentioned a new pain, allow them the time to take care of it before it becomes a problem. This may mean a massage, a visit with a physical therapist, or simply a few days away from the computer.

If you or your employees struggle with poor ergonomics of a home office, call us.