• Marion Edwin CNZHFE

Working productively from home

Updated: Apr 7

Covid-19 and New Zealand's lock-down has forced many workers to hurriedly organise themselves to work from home - whether or not this is their preferred place of work. Some workers are beginning to struggle with the combined effects of long work hours, changed routines, non-optimal workstation set up, and other psychological and organisational stressors. These contributing factors are cumulative, and may leave workers at high risk for musculoskeletal discomforts and injury. Adding to the difficulties, the lock-down prevents access to treatments that may be used to manage discomfort, such as massage or other physical and therapy treatments.

Most employers are inundated with business continuity demands, and they require key staff to stay well and function effectively - despite that they are not in the (well resourced) office. Maintaining productivity while working from a home office requires workers to have the skills to organise the furniture and resources available to them in the best possible way.

Certified New Zealand Ergonomists Marion Edwin and Sue Alexander have collaborated to provide high quality virtual consulting and education services for home based, remote or tele-workers. They use 5 key principles for healthy computer workstations - to address the workstation set up and how the work is done. They use their (considerable) experience to assist with effective 'DIY' solutions to make the most of the home based work environment, and the gear and materials that may be available.

Sue and Marion say that there is much that can be done with a little creativity... and some cardboard boxes, blutack, bulldog clips and duct tape! They suggest that a thoughtful raid of the kitchen, shed, lounge and wardrobe may come up with all that is needed for an 'emergency set up' workstation solution that is 'much better than before' - providing that the worker understands the basic principles that are the aim, such as having a range of relaxed work postures. They laughingly refer to themselves as 'veteran' home office workers, having thrived in home office work environments for many decades between them, and having used most of their own suggestions at one time or another.

Ergonomists Sue and Marion aim to keep workers discomfort free and optimally productive whilst they are working from home, and to support employers in looking after their valued workforce during this unprecedented time. They offer virtual group education sessions to support workers to self-manage their home work environment - effectively and comfortably; comprehensive virtual workstation assessments with reporting, and short virtual workstation advice taking a quick look at where you are working, what you have to work with, and how to put it together. Importantly, they know the ergonomics science behind the recommendations, so can help design your 'make do' set-up, wisely. We warn that some home based workers may not want to go back to their not-as-good office set-up, by the time we are done...

Email marion@optimiseltd.co.nz or sue@alexergonomics.co.nz with your query. More information at https://www.optimiseltd.co.nz/office-workstation-assessments. We are happy to assist.

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