Proper ergonomic practices and safe movement habits are essential elements to ensuring employee health, safety and productivity at work. As we support our workforce in balancing working from home and working from the office, employers must also protect the health of their employees from preventable musculoskeletal disorders. Ergonomic concerns have the potential to escalate into discomfort and possibly injury.
What is a Virtual Ergonomic Assessment?
A virtual ergonomic assessment is a convenient way to assess the work area for a variety of risks that lead to fatigue, discomfort, and potentially musculoskeletal injuries.
A virtual ergonomic assessment is similar to an in-person ergonomic assessment except it is delivered virtually by a video call. A virtual assessment aims to resolve concerns such as discomfort while working from home by coaching workers on their posture and providing practical equipment recommendations.
- Step 1. Practical Adjustments. MoveSafe’s virtual assessments help employees make immediate changes by adjusting, modifying, and repositioning equipment as well as identifying any discrepancies between the worker and the fit of their workstation.
- Step 2. Healthy Posture and Movement. During the assessment we coach the employee on appropriate postures and behaviours to help reduce potential discomfort. Employees may be provided with specific stretches to reduce their particular discomforts or minimize stress on overused areas.
- Step 3. Recording Recommendations. A summary report documenting the specific equipment and behavioural recommendations will be provided as reference material to reinforce the information provided during the assessment. Consistency of these new good habits is key!
Common Office Ergonomic Risks
Many of us are unaware of the risks and hazards present in the office as discomfort often builds-up over time. Harmful health effects may include back pain, neck and shoulder discomfort, and lower body stiffness. Prolonged sitting is often associated with other health risks such as diminished cardiovascular health, increased risk of diabetes and mental health concerns according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Risks present in the office include:
- 1. Awkward posture: A failure to maintain good seated posture while working is arguably the #1 issue our consultants see when conducting ergonomic assessments. An ergonomic assessment, whether conducted virtually or in person, focuses on appropriate “Big 3” seated posture essential for minimizing injury risk within the office.
- 2. Static Posture: Computer users are at increased risk for musculoskeletal disorders as a result of prolonged static postures. Static postures can include sitting or standing for extended periods of time.
- 3. Duration, intensity, and design of office work: Repetitive activity, such as keyboarding and mousing, is another risk factor for musculoskeletal injuries in the office. MoveSafe assessments always include coaching around appropriate movement breaks throughout the day.
How Can a Virtual Ergonomic Assessment Benefit My Organization?
For employees doing computer work, sustained awkward postures are likely the greatest risk to their comfort, safety and health. With many employees continuing Working From Home in some capacity, organizations need to properly evaluate the potential risks in employee’s home offices. The injury data tells us that employees suffer MSDs when using their company equipment in the office, so the need for proactive intervention is likely greater in home offices with less adjustability.
A trained and experienced Ergonomic Consultant can bring positive change to your entire staff by helping them implement the proper adjustments needed to reduce the risk of discomfort, pain and injuries that can accumulate over time.
If you are committed to ensuring the health, safety, and productivity of your workforce, then an investment into virtual ergonomic assessments may be right for you.
One of our expert Ergonomic Consultants will be able to assist you with modifications to your workers’ existing work stations either at home or at your regular office. The Ergonomic Consultant will provide a thorough analysis while also recommending appropriate equipment and other changes to be made. Being proactive about the health of your workforce is one of the best investments that any organization can make to ensure long term business success