The ways and spaces in which we work have become fundamentally altered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. For many office employees, March 2020 feels like it was a long time ago. The reality of working from home has become commonplace for millions of people across the globe, and there are few signs that full-time office shifts will be returning soon.
As Zoom meetings, PJs, and proximity to the fridge become the ‘new normal’, there are a variety of changes that home workers must integrate into their lifestyles. What may come as a surprise to some is that safety is among them.
While working from home may help protect one from contracting Covid-19, workers should be aware that there are a number of often overlooked health issues that may impact them. Here are ProSafe’s recommendations for staying safe (and comfortable) during your home-based tenure:
1. Customize Your Space To Suit Your Needs
The majority of grievous office-related injuries relate to improper posture. Sitting in the same position for extended periods of time is not healthy for one’s body, and a whole host of problems can arise when special attention isn’t paid to workers’ posture.
Rather than expose yourself to painful and potentially long-term problems, take extra measures to customize your workspace so that it is ergonomically friendly. Use chairs that support your lower back and offer adjustable lumbar supports. Ideally, the chair will be positioned so that your shoulders are relaxed, your hands are parallel to your desk, and your feet are flat on the ground.
During a busy day, it can be easy to forget to exercise proper posture. If you find that you are leaning forwards towards your screens or failing to keep your back straight, consider leaving yourself reminders to sit up properly. If all else fails, consider buying new furniture for your home office, or see if your benefits plan covers a visit from an ergonomic specialist.
2. Keep Moving
Regardless of whether you are working from home or spending time in the office, there is a good chance that you spend most of your day sitting down. This is not ideal for blood circulation, and may lead to future muscle tenderness, aches, and pain.
Make sure you dedicate part of your day towards getting up, stretching, and ideally, moving around. Not only will these activities keep you healthy, but they will also enhance concentration so that your mind remains focused on the next set of professional tasks. Quick walks, push-ups, or trips to your stationary bike are all good ways to keep your body – and your blood flow – on the move.
3. Secure Your Cyber-Office
The work-from-home phenomenon would not be possible without the Internet. Unfortunately, this incredible network does come with some drawbacks, and all users should be wary of potential viruses or hackers that could be coming for your office’s valuable data.
This being the case, be sure to keep your operating system and applications updated. These updates often contain reinforced security measures. If a website is requesting that you fill out any personal information, check to make sure that the address bar has a padlock beside it – this icon indicates a secure page.
Cyber security is similar to home security in many ways. If a stranger knocked on your door requesting information related to your personal life or business, would you answer them? Apply this same principle to your home office by taking extra caution when responding to emails, messages, or phone calls from unrecognized sources.
Settling into the routine of working from home requires learning new ways to keep healthy and safe. Being mindful of your sedentary lifestyle, practicing proper posture, and ensuring your computerized goods are kept safe are but a few of the ways that you can keep safe and comfortable during the pandemic.
For more tips and training on recognizing ergonomic hazards and implementing good practices, visit our online learning portal, where we have self-guided courses on everyday and office ergonomics. Don’t forget that ProSafe is still hosting in-person classes too – safety measures included.