As more employees are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic—many of whom are doing so indefinitely with no firm end point in sight–employers should urge employees to take certain steps to avoid injury and create a productive, safe, and comfortable work environment.  Here are some tips for working from home:

  1. Set up an ergonomic work station.
    • Ergonomics is the study of the body and how it interacts with an environment. Ergonomics in the workplace can be summarized in the acronym “N-E-W”
      • N = Neutral Posture:
        • Use a chair with adequate support and maintain proper posture.
      • E = Eye and Elbow Height:
        • Ensure that the keyboard and mouse are positioned at elbow level. The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye height.
      • W = Work Area:
        • Keep items that are used often in the primary work zone – the area within reach.
        • Keep items that are used less often in the secondary work zone – the area within outstretched arms.
        • The keyboard and mouse should be in the primary work zone and centered with the monitor.
  1. Stay Active
    • Working from home may result in sitting in a sedentary position for longer, because you are not attending meetings or visiting with co-workers face to face.
      • Consider setting an alarm to take stretch breaks throughout the day. This can help prevent overexertion injuries.
      • Create a routine with clear separation between home and work tasks.
  1. Prevent injuries
    • When working from home, employees do not have the same workplace safety standards; therefore, they may be at a higher risk of injury.
      • Prevent slips by wearing proper footwear and avoid slipper socks.
      • Prevent trips by keeping walkways clear and keeping the house well-lit.
      • Prevent falls by turning on the lights and using a handrail when going up and down the stairs.
  1. Be aware of surroundings
    • Employees should consider the safety risks of working in the home. If possible, the work area should be in a separate room free from distractions.
    • Employees should have a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible area and an exit plan for the household.
  1. Communicate
    • Stay connected with your workforce while working remotely. Working from home may create a sense of isolation and disconnection.
      • Conference calls can help bring teams together and individual calls with employees may reveal struggles they are having in the workplace.
      • Different communication channels may work better for different employees.

For more tips on workplace safety while working from home:

If you have questions about the above information, please give Partner Attorney, Stacy Morris a call at 402-397-7300.