As more organizations continue to embrace remote work, driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s workplace is quickly evolving, which can make it more difficult to manage your employees’ ergonomic risk. In the past, most employees worked in a controlled office environment and could receive on-site ergonomics support and in-person training. Health and safety managers could easily conduct assessments and provide equipment tailored to each individual’s unique needs.
The State of Remote Working
Despite the ergonomic challenges, remote working appears to be here for the long term. In fact, consider these statistics on the new remote workforce:
- 66% of knowledge workers think offices will disappear by 2030, according to a Zapier report.
- A Buffer report found 99% of people would choose to work remotely at least part time for the rest of their careers.
- Remote working has grown by 44% in the last five years, a FlexJobs report cited.
- 43% of U.S. employees were already working remotely at least some of the time, according to a Gallup poll.
- In an Owl Labs report, 56% of global companies reported allowing remote work.
The New Normal in the Workplace
With the increase in remote working comes anticipated changes to office environments. More offices will transform into shared, collaborative spaces where employees can check out desks rather than sit at an assigned workstation, and with this new environment, a cultural shift needs to happen.
Organizations must help their employees understand that proper ergonomics should apply everywhere they work. Not only does this include their workstations at the office but also any home set-up. Employees will need to take more responsibility for creating a healthy and productive work environment, which will ultimately change how organizations provide ergonomic support.
Ergonomic assessments and training are existing solutions that can help employees with their ergonomic issues, but it’s also important for employees to have a sense of accountability and buy-in on the importance of ergonomics. Rather than focus on in-person assessments, organizations need to provide their employees with educational content as well as leverage data to manage risk for off-site employees.
How Technology Can Enhance Ergonomics
With day-to-day, in-person interactions becoming more limited, technology can play a big role in ensuring employee health and safety no matter where they’re located. Today’s ergonomics software allows organizations to provide employees with online self-assessments that can be taken in the office or at home. Not only do these assessments help employees see where they can improve their ergonomic habits, but they can also report any discomfort they may feel. The software can then send information on who’s experiencing discomfort that needs to be addressed to the organization.
This allows the organization to identify high-risk employees to ensure they are a top priority. From here, a case manager can take over and conduct telephone interviews with those high-risk employees who work remotely and provide ergonomic and equipment recommendations based on that interview. As the case progresses, the case manager can leverage the ergonomic software to track their issue resolution and gain access to data insights from anywhere.
Ergonomic software can also serve as an educational hub for employees. Through ergonomic software, employees can receive break reminders, view videos of proper stretching techniques, and follow ergonomic coaching. By providing these educational resources, employees can proactively implement best ergonomic practices and take control of their health and safety, allowing case managers to focus their time on high-risk workers.
Learn More about Managing Ergonomic Risk
To learn more about how to provide a safe and productive work environment through ergonomics in today’s changing work environment, watch our webinar Leveraging Data-Driven Insights to Manage Ergonomic Risk in Today’s Evolving Workplace or download our eBook, 4 Steps to Implementing an Effective Office Ergonomics Program: