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Work from home Ergonomics

Updated: Apr 10, 2022

Attending the office from home was once considered a privilege, but not anymore. As the global pandemic struck, people were forced to return to their hometowns, away from their workplaces. According to The Hindu “An estimated 12.2 crore, Indians lost their jobs during the coronavirus lockdown in April.” Even the ones who continued to work from home faced inconvenience while executing day-to-day tasks due to a non-ergonomic work setting. Hence, the home workspace should be designed ergonomically to avoid any perils.

According to the International Ergonomics Association “Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data, and methods to design to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.” Similarly, ergonomics in the workspace refers to optimizing the environment according to the working individuals, to prevent any musculoskeletal disorders.

For instance, in the physical workspace, equipment and furniture are designed in a way that enables the employees to work comfortably for longer durations. However, while working from home, people lack such amenities because a house is furnished according to the day-to-day activities like, eating, sleeping, and studying.

The furniture designed for these activities does not conform to the demands of an active working lifestyle. Therefore, understanding ergonomics is important because it helps us in designing our workplace in a way that increases productivity, and does not strain our physical and mental health. Some recommendations for working efficiently and safely at home are:

  • Invest in a good office chair which is suitable for long working hours.

  • Do not hunch over your laptop.

  • Maintain an appropriate height distance from the table, so that your elbows naturally fall at the desk.

  • Have appropriate lighting in your workplace. For starters, have less lighting above your eyes and more lighting below the eyes.

  • Do not sit right next to a window. It causes glare at the screen, which may put a lot of strain on the near vision.

  • Socialize with your colleagues and people you are comfortable with, this will relieve you from any mental strain.

  • Follow a healthy diet and stay hydrated while working.

  • Dedicate certain hours to physical activity.

  • With body give a break to your eyes as well, follow the 20-20-20 rule i.e., after looking at the screen for every 20 minutes, look at an object at 20 feet distance for 20 seconds.

  • Take a break at regular intervals, pursue a hobby and use those holidays!

  • And yes, don't forget to pay attention to your body. Closely observe the signals it is trying to give.

In the end, consistency is the key. Staying consistent with these habits is what can increase an employee’s job satisfaction as well as their work output. Therefore, at Cerebranium we ensure that our team has the required time and resources to incorporate these habits. In addition to this, we follow a No meeting Wednesday rule, wherein we don’t schedule any internal meetings on a Wednesday.

To notify about any updates and information, we use channels on Slack, dedicated to different teams. This way, we eliminate the requirement for virtual meetings every day while communicating effectively. We believe that working from a non-ergonomic place can have severe consequences in the long term, if not immediately. Hence, we incorporate practices that augment the well-being of our team.

Everyone faces unique challenges according to their work and lifestyle. Therefore, a routine and home workspace should be customized according to the personal needs of an individual, as this will make them the most productive. A new and efficient workspace can be designed by assessing the risks of a non-ergonomic place, which ultimately contributes to the better health of an employee, reduces absenteeism, and makes them more productive.

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