If you are an executive at a company or a health and safety professional, do you know how your employees are working from home? How many of them are working from a couch, a bed, the floor? How many are sitting on a hard chair for 12 hours a day? How many of them are looking down at a laptop all day and wondering why they have terrible neck pain?
As an ergonomic company, our team has been providing home office ergonomic assessments for employees in all industries since Covid began. Our results are quite similar to the results from The University of Cincinnati that did an ergonomic study of its faculty and staff. They sent a survey out to all of the faculty and staff, a total of 8500 people and of those individuals, a mere 44 responded with pictures. The request was to add two pictures of the workspace.
Once all of the results were in, a team analyzed the information with factors such as:
- Monitor (centered or not)
- Laptop (if it was too high or low)
- Chair (too hard, too high/low, armrests adjusted properly, lumbar, feet on the floor)
- Worksurface- (hard front edge, glare, too dark/light)
- Mice/Keyboard external or not
- Type of workstation (sitting/standing)
Trends in What They Found:
- 58% had some type of office chair, but most were not adequate. (This is much higher than it is in Southern California where many don’t have space for a separate office Pre-Covid.)
-Many of the chairs were the wrong height (41% too low and 2% too high) resulting in elevated arms or leaning on the edge of the desk with poor head position
- 64% of people said they were sitting on a hard surface.
- 3/4 of the monitors that employees were using were the laptop monitors which creates neck strain.
-NOTE: The study didn’t mention how many people had these raised.
- 27% using dining chairs
- 15% used a bed or a couch
(This percentage is a lot higher for Pacific Ergonomic clients in Southern California where space is at a premium.)
- 7% were sitting at a dining room table
- 46% of the mice used were on the laptop itself which creates risk and is a low-cost fix
- 52% of monitors were set up too low and 45 were too high. (Creating neck strain)
- 17% had glare and 5% were too dark
Although this is a small sampling, it is interesting to see the results in different parts of the country. In Southern California where space is at a premium, many people are working from beds, couches, and dining room tables, a much higher percentage then these results suggest. If I had to speculate, I would say it is 65 percent of the assessments we do.
What the ergonomic home office study didn’t explore is the following:
How many people are sitting with no back support. (This is often caused by the wrong size of chair)
Chairs with armrests that don’t allow the user to move close enough to the desk to have proper posture
If the size of the chairs fit the individual or not. (A petite person with a large seat pan and wide arms) Or chairs that were never intended to be sat in 8-12 hours a day.
Most people who benefit from the same ergonomic help they receive in the office at home. It is more challenging and difficult in a home office because you don’t have standardized desks, chairs and environments that are controlled. Therefore, employees need virtual ergonomic help more than ever before.
Call us if to explore creating a program for your company. 619-546-0872 (101)
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About the author
Annie Berzanski is proud and honored to be the CEO of Pacific Ergonomics, a full-service San Diego ergonomic company with consulting and ergonomic product solutions. Her team helps employees and employers thrive. Annie leads a customer service obsessed team with certified ergonomists and Account managers who help employees increase productivity and feel great working. At the same time, Pacific Ergonomics helps companies decrease and prevent costly Workers Comp claims from work-related Musculoskeletal Skeletal Disorders (MSDs.) Annie is a certified office and industrial ergonomist. She is passionate about helping her customers create customized solutions that have a bottom line impact, make employees healthier and decrease risk of injury.