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Many workers were not prepared to work from home when they were suddenly directed to do so due to COVID-19. Michelle Robertson and Kathleen Mosier, representing the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) and in conjunction with the International Labour Organization (ILO), provide tips for workers to help them feel supported, productive, effective, and safe. 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. Shelter-in-place directives have drastically increased the population working from home. Typically, this shift to working from home was done without any consideration of two essential elements of the management of work: human factors and ergonomics.

Recently, Michelle Robertson and Kathleen Mosier representing the international ergonomics association in conjunction with the international labor organization, provided the following tips for workers to help them work safely while working from home.

First establish a routine for work and personal activities to better balance family and work time. Adopt healthy work from home habits like taking breaks each hour, moving often and changing working postures regularly.

Use wearable devices to schedule reminders to move, walk, and change work postures.

Incorporate standing positions throughout the workday.

Take an online ergonomic training course to learn how to properly set up and adjust your workstation.

Rotate among the four recommended working postures during the day: upright sitting, reclined sitting, declined sitting and standing.

Install proper overhead and task lighting.

And lastly use a headset or noise cancelling headphones to control external noise.

So, what does this mean? What’s the bottom line?

The bottom line is that many workers were unprepared to work from home, they lack the proper workstation set up, equipment and the habits to work from home effectively. Consider these tips to help you work from home more effectively, be more productive, and ensure safety during this new normal.