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The COVID-19 pandemic made us work from home, overnight, which hasn’t helped the majority of business managers who didn’t know how to manage a large group of employees working remotely. Michelle Robertson and Kathleen Mosier, representing the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) and in conjunction with the International Labour Organization (ILO), provides tips to help managers support their workers. Certified ergonomist Blake McGowan explains.

Resources: References: Michelle M. Robertson & Kathleen Mosier. Work from home: Human factors/ergonomics considerations for teleworking. 20 April 2020. International Labour Organization (ILO).

Video Transcript

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an abrupt shift in the nature of how and where we conduct work. The shelter-in-place directive has drastically increased the population working from home. Typically, the shift to working from home was done without consideration of two essential elements in the management of work: human factors and ergonomics.

Recently, Kathleen Mosier and Michelle Robertson, representing the International Ergonomics Association in conjunction with the International Labor Organization, provided the following tips for managers to help them support their workers working from home:

  • Provide psychosocial support to team members to ensure they remain productive, effective, and safe.
  • Offer flexibility for workers who have additional family demands, such as caring for children or other family members while working from home.
  • Encourage workers to establish a routine of work and personal activities to help them balance their family and work time.
  • Communicate regularly with workers about current happenings, business information, problem-solving ideas, and performance-related issues. This will also help reduce the social isolation some workers are experiencing.
  • Provide extra guidance for completing tasks that are interdependent.
  • Recognize individual and group performance when it’s appropriate.
  • Teach workers how to use virtual meeting tools to enhance the experience and effectiveness of working from home.
  • Provide online netiquette training, or networked politeness or etiquette conventions, to encourage positive connections with co-workers.
  • Communicate the process for reporting accidents and job-related illnesses and injuries.

So, what does this mean? What’s the bottom line? The bottom line is that most managers were unprepared to manage a large group of employees working from home. It’s brand-new. Providing these tips will help managers support their employees and help them remain productive, effective, and safe.