Daily Herald: Invest in proper office equipment at home

Daily Herald: Invest in proper office equipment at home

COVID-19 ushered in the work from home (WFH) revolution. What was once a rarity among a select group is quickly redefining our future workforce.

The new reality of work from home has been welcomed by most who find it has positively improved their quality of life. However, remote work has complicated some boundaries between work lives and personal lives. It has redefined how we work, how we communicate with our colleagues, the tools we use to work, times we spend working, and restructured our overall working environment and commute.

An overlooked part of the new work from home world has been occupational health. Working in an orthopedic office chair with a table at the correct height contrasts from working at a kitchen table cluttered with yesterday's mail. Likewise, sharing a workplace with a secretary is different from sharing office space with a fussy toddler.

Next, let's talk about working dynamics with co-workers. Working from home has replaced water-cooler chats, which enforced company culture and boosted employee morale.

We can all benefit from the fact that WFH is now more common, but it is not new. We have over 25 years of research that we can look back on regarding this work style.

Most research has come out of Canada and Europe, where the regulatory environment is more comprehensive. For example, in Quebec, Canada, the government specifies companies' responsibilities to provide ergonomic desks and chairs for work from home employees. Quebec WFH workers are entitled to the same benefits as in-office employees in case of work-based injuries.

Make work from home more ergonomic

As mentioned previously, many people do not have the proper office chairs, and work for extended periods in an improper atmosphere or compromised position, which can significantly impact your body and overall health. It is imperative to invest in the right chair and desk for your setup.

It would help if you were looking for a chair with adjustable features such as seat height, armrest and enough cushioning. Your monitor should be just below eye level.

Short breaks also help you. Often, when we work at home, we are consumed with daily tasks, and we do not find time to take quick breaks. Make it a point to set a timer that will go off every 50 minutes. Get up and walk, adding exercise to your daily routine.

What happens when you return to work?

Workers returning to an office may find that their workspace has dramatically changed. Desks will be further apart, and common areas will not be the same. Some offices will require temperature checks for employees for an extended period.

There is even thermal imaging technology, which will enable companies to scan large groups of employees entering the facility during the day. Real-time observation, alarming, and recording of body temperature will occur.

Some workers may find themselves in a more flexible work environment than what they had before COVID-19. Employees have become used to accommodating their family responsibilities over the last year.

Employers get to decide how the new workplace will be organized, especially regarding the lives of essential employees. However, they will also find that a strict workplace will make it harder to recruit the best employees who expect more.

Dr. Aning is the founder and president of My Just Checking In. The team has over 20 years of expertise and knowledge to help health care organizations improve their efficiency and profitability. Our staff can help transform your EHR implementation from a source of frustration to a successful and productive tool. Dr. Darrin Miller contributed to this article.