Working From Home? Don't Leave Ergonomics At The Office!

Whether working from home all the time or just having the options and flexibility to do either, there is no escaping this new normal everyone lives in. It's time to think differently about the home office.

Ergonomics in the home office

Working from home is here to stay. This means employees need to move on from the hack-phase of makeshift desks and workspaces and start to think differently about how they work from home. In a new two-part podcast from LINAK U.S. Inc., special guests Dr. Mark Benden, director of the Ergo Center at Texas A&M University, and Martha Parker, project manager and ergonomist at the Ergo Center, explore this topic and dive into the challenges and opportunities of the home office. 

"In your job, you can compare yourself to a pro-athlete," says, Dr. Mark Benden. "In order to perform at peak levels, you need the same equipment and tools around that you always have. You would not want to change this up or go without something every time you traveled. This is the same for your workspace. To keep the level of performance the same, you want that transition to be seamless."

This focus on seamlessness is emphasized in the episode, along with some unique findings from a series of studies centered around office workers who shifted to working from home. These studies were the first of their kind as they took in software data at a very large-scale, monitoring 120 types of metrics of over 40,000 office workers for multiple years. One question on everyone's mind that the study answered was, "Can people working from home be as effective as those working in the office?"

"After about 45 days, people were back up to their regular level of productivity," says Parker. "What that means for us today is that you're going to get back to where you were from a work status, and you can do it for the long haul."

So, the good news is that employees can be just as effective at home. But if the goal is to speed up that transition and ensure a continued level of productivity, it is important that employees have a dedicated space at home that replicates the same equipment and setup as their workspace in the office. This is where ergonomics plays an even more important role.

One of the biggest things employees need to focus on is staying active. Sitting or standing in the same position all day can have very damaging effects on the body. Though the study showed employees tend to move about the same at home as they do in the office, it is still not that great. In fact, Dr. Benden and Parker suggest following the 20-8-2 metric. Where the strategy is to focus on sitting for 20 minutes, standing for eight and walking or moving for two.

Dr. Benden covered it well, "The thing for folks to remember, is that the best position you can be in ergonomically to work at your computer is your next one. So, the very optimal position is the whole concept of change…That's the secret sauce. What's good for us is the transition to move."

Learn all about the results from the comprehensive study in part one of the discussion with Dr. Benden and Parker or get all the tips and tricks for health and wellness in part two.

Source: LINAK U.S. Inc.

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Categories: Active and Healthy Living

Tags: active living, ergonomics, healthy living, home office, productivity, work from home, working from home


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