new: full video on working from home
Working from home is now common, in Switzerland as well as abroad. Many companies encourage their employees to stay at home, whilst more and more solopreneurs start their own business. What are the ergonomic recommendations for preserving your health when working from home?
Your body is the same in every context: the advice that we provide on our DSE training (Display Screen Equipment) is valid under every circumstance. Furthermore, you should beware three hazards specifically related to working from home or a remote location:
The ergonomic risks related to the seat are illustrated below: an ergonomic office chair with a good lumbar support, a kitchen chair with just a high backrest, and a couch. To work in good conditions, you need to invest in a good office chair, which you can purchase from approx. CHF 450 ($450). Make sure that you read this article before buying.
Regarding your neck, now: the lower and the more horizontal the screen (e.g., a tablet lying flat on the table), the more you flex the neck. When you work on a laptop from a fixed location (e.g., from home), you can choose between two ergonomic solutions:
The pictures below show how you can create an ergonomic workstation in an Ikea closet. If you do not have a proper office chair, use a lumbar cushion on your kitchen chair.
If you use two systems (e.g., a desktop PC and a laptop), you can consider a connector to share a keyboard, a mouse and a screen which allows you to flip from one system to the other with a mere switch.
Regarding the breaks: to protect your lumbar discs, you should stand at least every 30 min, be it for 2-3 minutes only (coffee break, bathroom, phone, chat). Your neck and eyes need to relax even more frequently, but for a shorter duration. These breaks seem frequent; however, bear in mind that they are simply biomechanical breaks. They do not force you to take an intellectual (or psychological) break, which would suppose that you take time to re-focus on your task. With a biomechanical break, you don't waste any time...
If you can install it, I recommend the Workrave (Windows) or Time Out (iOS / Mac) freewares, which will prompt you to take breaks if you don't take them naturally.
If you want to receive personal advice on your workplace ergonomics, please choose between the two modalities below.
The literature is unanimous: behavioral interventions are not effective when carried out in isolation. This does not mean that training employees is useless: it just implies that it should be part of a broader, well structured program.
Erg'OH Conseil's specific training method, based on ergonomics and on paramedical sciences, follows 4 main rules:
The training structure is illustrated below, as we use it e.g., with paramedics and healthcare staff. Steps 1-5 take place in a theory room (although the participants are already very active) and last approx. 2hrs. At least 2hrs should be dedicated to practicing in real-life situations.
In the second part (field training), we have observed that the trainer should proceed as follows:
At the end of the training, participants should be familiar with all the aspects of the lifting or carrying sequence illustrated below.
Of course, such training is dense and brings a lot of content. Hence, splitting it over 2 sessions is appreciated, when feasible. Furthermore, participants are made aware of the fact that changing habits can only occur one step at a time. Hence, they receive at the beginning of the training a template sheet in which they can define and arrange their own goals.
The feedback we have been receiving for years is unanimously positive. Participants report to have learned and understood a lot about how the body works, even if they received prior manual handling training. Employers report to see behaviors and culture evolve, and appreciate to receive a first-level ergonomic assessment as part of the training.
In this blog, we report on events and scientific articles as well as on opinions, so as to serve our readers' further education.
This post is meant to draw your attention to the Coaching for Leaders podcast, an inspiring podcast by Dave Stachowiak, who manages it weekly with great professionalism. Registering gives access to a large structured information database.
Chris' offset point of view is inspring by the fact that in every situation, he tries to identify a potential for some common interest within the company. He does not give anything away from a business point of view, but he offers a caring vision of management to better serve the company and its customers. Searching for a win-win balance, rather than a loose-loose compromise, also belongs to Erg'OH Conseil's DNA.
Thank you Chris for this unique vision!
For the last 25 years, the Swiss association Citizen@Work-Swiss (a member of the European network Citizen@Work) has been organizing the Swiss Price "Santé-Entreprise" (health at work). The price has a double goal:
Apply too until 30th October 2017 using the application documents!
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