The Bottom Line: Working from Home – Employer Tips
Posted on July 12, 2022 | in Ergonomics
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an abrupt shift in the nature of how and where we work. The sudden shift to “work from home” has been typically done without consideration of two essential elements in the management of work: human factors and ergonomics. Certified ergonomist Blake McGowan outlines tips from Michelle Robertson and Kathleen Mosier, representing the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) and in conjunction with the International Labour Organization (ILO), to help employers support their workers when working from home.
References: Michelle M. Robertson & Kathleen Mosier. Work from home: Human factors/ergonomics considerations for teleworking. 20 April 2020. International Labour Organization (ILO).
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an abrupt shift in the nature of how and where we work. Shelter-in-place directives have drastically increased the population working from home. Unfortunately, the shift to working from home was done without consideration of two essential elements in the management of work: human factors and ergonomics. It’s fair to say that many organizations were unprepared for this shift, providing little to no consideration or support was provided to workers set up a safe and effective working from home environment. As a result, many workers are now at an elevated level of risk for the development of musculoskeletal disorders and other health-related issues.
Recently, Michelle Robertson and Kathleen Mosier, representing the International Economics Association and in conjunction with the International Labor Organization, developed the following tips for employers to support employees working from home:
- Build trust, respect, and mutual understanding between the employer and workers.
- Provide the necessary tools, training, and organizational direction to ensure worker productivity, effectiveness, and safety.
- Establish and communicate clear parameters for working from home.
- Support workers to adjust work times around their home responsibilities and family needs.
- Provide online ergonomics training and resources to help workers set up and evaluate their environment.
- Provide online workstation evaluations through videoconferencing.
- Educate employees on how to establish work/life balance and set boundaries.
- Provide collaborative videoconferencing tools to promote a sense of belonging and improve group cohesiveness.
- Encourage mindfulness and other stress management techniques.
- Provide clear direction for the maintenance of confidential company information and enable security measures such as Virtual Private Networks.
- Provide easy access to technical support.
So, what does this mean? What’s the bottom line? The bottom line is that employers have the obligation to provide clear direction and support to the workers working from home. This will ensure trust, respect, as well as mutual understanding. In addition, it’ll increase worker productivity and their effectiveness, and improve their health and safety.