As employees transition from conference rooms and cubicles to makeshift home office spaces amid precautionary office closures, practicing proper ergonomics at home is essential for better health and work productivity. For many organizations across the nation, telework may be the new normal, as a recent survey by ANSI member Gartner reveals that 74 percent of CFOs intend to shift at least some employees to remote work permanently post-COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a helpful Computer Work Station Checklist, which explains that ergonomicsfitting a job to a personhelps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity, and reduces the number and severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. There are numerous office ergonomics standards to support productivity and safe working conditions. And as companies follow national stay-at-home orders amid the global health pandemic, employees who depend on laptop screens for videoconferencing and home desks for working tables can benefit from expert guidance for correct chair height, adequate equipment spacing, and good desk posture at home.
Resources for Ergonomics at Home
ANSI member Mayo Clinic provides a helpful how-to guide for office ergonomics at home, noting, among other tips:
See additional Mayo Clinic tips on office ergonomics.
The University of California, Irvine, an ANSI member, has compiled and published guidance, Ergonomics: Working Remotely, with home workstation set-up tips, microlearning videos that focus on mindful posture, and links to several free stretch break software apps.
As the new Gartner survey indicates that CFOs recognize that technology and society has evolved to make remote work feasible, various businesses are gearing up to reopen on a state-by-state basis.
For workers who eventually return to the office, the standard published by ANSI member Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, ANSI-HFES 100 (HFES 2007), Human Factors Engineering for Computer Workstations, provides specific guidance for the design and installation of computer workstations, including displays, input devices, and furniture that will accommodate a wide variety of users.
A standard published by ANSI member and accredited standards developer CSA Group, CSA Z412-2017, Office ergonomics - An application standard for workplace ergonomics, provides guidelines on optimizing work environments. It serves to enhance user health, safety, and well-being and to optimize system performance in order to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses or to reduce the severity of harm related to occupational activities in offices.
These standards are among several ergonomic standards that encompass visual displays and computer keyboards, office chairs and desks, and a number of environmental factors including lighting, noise, and ventilation, including several International Organization for Standardization standards.