​The Remote Office:
​Are you Ergonomically at Risk?

Eliminate risk factors with these

ergonomic best practices

In the current world crisis, many people are having to perform their jobs from their home or other remote location. Thanks to mobile devices and digital technology, we already have a proven and effective means to collaborate and stay connected no matter the location. But, how is your remote office set up? Do you have the proper computer equipment and tools to do your job? Is your workplace ergonomically correct?

Unless you’re in the do-it-yourself category, your IT department typically provides you with the appropriate equipment, remote virtual private network (VPN) access, the required software with automatic updates, security guidelines, technical support and more.

Now, assuming you have the proper setup and IT support, how can you prevent ergonomic risk factors and ensure a safe and healthy work environment?

​​Risk Factors: Oh, My Aching …

​Does your neck or back feel stiff or sore? Do you find yourself getting up to stretch more? Do you have sharp pains, numbness or tingling in your fingers, wrists or arms? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be ergonomically at risk.

An improper setup can make you susceptible to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), including high task repetition, forceful exertions and repetitive/sustained awkward postures where fatigue and discomfort may result.

Some common risk factors include:

  • ​Spending more than 50% of your time sitting at your desk doing the same repetitive task such as typing, resulting in certain disorders such as muscle strain, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis
  • ​​Back or leg pain from sitting a few hours at a time
  • ​​Neck strain due to cradling a phone to your neck while typing
  • ​Eye fatigue or eye strain after a few hours of typing

​Under these conditions, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels can be damaged. One of the leading causes of work-related disabilities is back injury so correct posture and getting up to move around is extremely important. The overall goal here is to follow an ergonomic plan to eliminate any physical discomfort and risk of injury.

​​Ergonomic Tips

​​Good ergonomic best practices are important to get the most from your personal workstation and to avoid discomfort. This means that the computer equipment and your workspace should be arranged to suit your individual needs and the kind of work that you do.

When sitting at a computer workstation, the following tips can help minimize physical discomfort that may accompany prolonged static postures and repetitive motions:

  • ​​​Use a good, comfortable chair that you can adjust so it supports your lower back.
  • ​​Make sure you sit with your thighs in a horizontal position.
  • ​Rest your feet flat on the floor or use a stable footrest.
  • ​​Ensure the top of your monitor casing is 2–3 inches above eye level.
  • ​​​Adjust the screen position to eliminate or reduce glare from lights or windows.
  • ​​Sit at arm’s length from the monitor.
  • ​​Ensure your wrists are flat and straight in relation to forearms to use keyboard, mouse and other input devices.
  • ​Make sure your arms and elbows are relaxed and close to your body.
  • ​Center the monitor and keyboard in front of you.
  • ​Tilt your keyboard, if possible, in a negative position (back of keyboard slightly down) with your mouse adjacent to keyboard.
  • ​Use a stable work surface or if required, a stable keyboard tray.
  • ​Vary your tasks and take periodic “micro” breaks to relax your muscles including eye strain by looking away from the monitor (focus 20 feet away) at least three times an hour. This helps to reduce the possibility of discomfort or fatigue.

​We hope these ergonomic best practices make your remote office more comfortable, safe, secure and above all injury free! Remember to evaluate your current setup on a regular basis

Be safe and ​stay well!

​Are You Ergonomically at Risk?

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