The COVID-19 pandemic set off a rapid and immediate transition to remote work. Even after the lockdown, many organisations realised that remote work, or at least a hybrid system, is becoming more and more feasible due to technological advancements. With regards to employee wellness, we need to make sure that conditions, training, and available equipment are well configured for a healthy workplace.
Obviously, remote work has both pros and cons. A study done by Galanti et al. (2021) shows that autonomy and self-efficacy are positively correlated to productivity during remote work. Social isolation and family conflicts are factors related to stress during remote work.
However, according to McAllister et al. (2022), 51% of employees who transitioned to remote work showed signs of increasing discmofort due to inadequate equipment and a lack of training on how to configure their at-home workstations. It is clear that a hybrid system allowing for remote work flexibility and preserving the social element of in-person work is the ideal solution. This is where ergonomic intervention is necessary.
24% of employees who work from home reported new discomforts due to poor ergonomics at home, according to McAllister et al. (2022). Ergonomic interventions, such as individual evaluations, integrated programs and equipment recommendations are essential to maintain the wellbeing of employees during remote work.
An ergonomist can serve as a guide throughout multiple aspects of remote work. The optimal configuration of the workstation allows for increased productivity as well as fatigue and discomfort reduction. Advice and guidance from an ergonomist can rectify poor working habits like bad posture, poor equipment use and a lack of breaks.
Additionally, ergonomists have a profound understanding of the workstation equipment industry (mice, keyboards, desks, chairs, accessories, etc). The multidisciplinary knowledge of ergonomists is an invaluable asset which is becoming more and more necessary with the work from home transition. The specialised guidance of an ergonomist is an essential means of ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees in the context of remote work.
Galanti, T., Guidetti, G., Mazzei, E., Zappalà, S., & Toscano, F. (2021). Work From Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak: The Impact on Employees’ Remote Work Productivity, Engagement, and Stress. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 63(7), e426–e432. https://doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000002236
McAllister, M. J., Costigan, P. A., Davies, J. P., & Diesbourg, T. L. (2022).
The effect of training and workstation adjustability on teleworker discomfort during the COVID-19 pandemic. Applied ergonomics, 102, 103749. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2022.103749