Return to Office Tips for Human Resources or Office Management
Restrictions are lifting and we know companies are beginning to plan their return to the office for September. We have heard of a few different strategies including a full-time return to the office, a hybrid style with time split between the home and office and some individuals will continue to work from home full-time. Regardless of which style of return your organization is planning, there are several ergonomic considerations that should be kept in mind to ensure that employees health and wellness continues to be supported.
Full-Time Return To The Office
Many organizations allowed their staff to take home equipment such as chairs, monitors, keyboards and mice during the pandemic. As staff return with their equipment they may need assistance to set-up their workstation again. MoveSafe can provide support to your organization in several ways:
- We can provide our Move Concierge service, which is a 1 hour presentation focused on creating an ergonomically sound workstation followed by Spot Checks of employees’ workstations to assist with any concerns.
- We have created an Office Ergonomics Self-Assessment Tool that can be distributed to employees to provide them with education and training on how to adjust their workstation optimally. For those who need additional assistance after completing the Self Assessment, MoveSafe can provide Spot Checks to assist workers with more complex ergonomic issues.
- We have numerous free resources available ranging from our downloadable Workstation Set-Up Guide, and Return to the Office Ergonomics Checklist as well as helpful blog posts such as our Anatomy of a Chair article that explains how to use all the knobs and levers on a standard office chair.
Hybrid Return – Dedicated Office
If the return to office plan is going to be a hybrid style where employees return to their dedicated workstation for a portion of time and spend the remainder working from their home office, it will be important to ensure they have an ergonomically sound workstation in both locations. This may become difficult to accomplish once the company equipment has been returned to the office.
- MoveSafe can provide a Home Office Ergonomics Webinar with cost effective tips and tricks to help workers ensure they maintain an ergonomically sound home workstation after they have returned their company equipment.
- MoveSafe’s Office Ergonomics Self-Assessment Tool can be used for both the home and corporate office. Additionally we can provide a tailored Recommended Ergonomic Equipment List that can provide further assistance and allow employees to solve common ergonomic concerns based on the results of their Self-Assessment.
- We have numerous free resources including our downloadable Seated Workstation Set-Up Guide and Home Office Workstation Set-Up Guide, as well as helpful blog posts such as our three part Office Ergonomics – It’s More Than Just a Split Keyboard article series.
Hybrid Return – Hoteling Station
If the primary workstation is going to continue to be the home office, but the employee may work at the corporate office periodically using a communal, hoteling, or hot-desking style of workstation, it is important to ensure this workstation is highly adjustable to accommodate a wide range of individuals. Some features/items we recommend these workstations include are:
- Height Adjustable Tables: The ideal hoteling workstation would have a height adjustable table with a range between approximately 25” – 48” to allow each worker to adjust the desk height to suit them. If this is not feasible and the desk will be a fixed height, it will be important to provide the additional equipment necessary for each individual to tailor the fit. This would include having footrests and removable keyboard trays easily available.
- Adjustable Office Chairs: Every individual has a different set of needs and the more adjustable features a chair has the more people it can accommodate. Look for features such as adjustable height, seat pan depth, backrest, lumbar support and armrest position. Further to this it is important that each employee knows how to use these features and set-up the chair to best suit them. If you know the make and model of the chair you can often find a Youtube video explaining what the different knobs and levers do.
- Office Chair Size: Standard office chairs do not fit everybody. Choosing a chair that has an adjustable seat pan will allow the chair to fit a wider variety of users. Individuals who are petite may need to shorten the seat pan of the chair. If it is not feasible to have an adjustable seat pan then petite users can add a supplemental backrest.
- Armests: Select a chair with armrests that are highly adjustable, both height, width and depth. It is not uncommon to see armrests that interfere with an individual’s ability to create an optimal workstation if they lack the desired features. If this is the case, then some individuals are better off without armrests and they should have the ability to remove them from the chair if needed or they should be able to be lowered so they can be positioned out of the way.
- Adjustable Monitors: Each individual will need to adjust the monitor[s] to suit their seated height. The simplest solution for this would be to have the monitor[s] on an adjustable monitor arm. If that is not feasible then ensure monitors are mounted on height adjustable bases and have monitor risers available.
- Various Input Devices: Most individuals work well with standard sized keyboards and mice, but occasionally individuals will need specialized ergonomic equipment. This includes short/compact keyboards, split keyboards or vertical mice. Having a selection of these various input devices available for workers to swap out the standard equipment at a communal workstation can help ensure a workstation is ergonomically sound.
Having all the right equipment in place is a great place to start, but employees also need to know how to use the equipment to ensure they get an optimal fit. MoveSafe can provide resources such as:
- A virtual or in-person Lunch & Learn where a MoveSafe Ergonomics Consultant provides training and education around the specific equipment that will be provided at each workstation and how staff should set-up their workstation.
- Our Seated Workstation Set-up Guide or even our Return to the Office Ergonomics Checklist can be posted at each workstation to help remind workers to set-up their workstation at the beginning of each workday.
Indefinite Work From Home
If employees are going to continue working remotely from home then their home workstation should be set-up following ergonomic principles. MoveSafe will continue to support workers as we have through the entirety of the pandemic in a number of ways:
- We will continue to provide one-on-one Virtual Home Office Ergonomics Assessments for employees who have concerns or are experiencing discomfort at their workstation.
- MoveSafe can provide a Home Office Ergonomics Webinar with cost effective tips and tricks to help workers ensure they maintain an ergonomically sound home workstation.
- We have numerous free resources including our downloadable Home Office Workstation Set-Up Guide, as well as helpful blog posts such as our Ergonomics @ Home: Tips On Working From Home, and Working From Home Tips To Increase Comfort and Productivity articles.