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5 Easy Ways to Make Work from Home Safe

02 November 2023

It has been over 2 years now that most of us are enjoying working from home. The relaxation and comfort of working from home feel unreal. Working from home is definitely more fun, and if given an option, most people would opt to continue working remotely.

As much as working from home has helped us restore the work-life balance, it has also put us at a higher risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Even after all this time, many people still don't have proper workstations at home and continue to work from their beds, kitchen counters, or couches. To them, it's comfortable when they're putting themselves at a massive risk of posture-related health complications.

The lack of awareness about home office ergonomics and the lack of resources to design ergonomic workspaces at home makes the work-from-home model unsafe and even risky for remote employees. If you've been working from home and have no plans to resume going to the office, this blog post may help you understand the risks and how you can make your home office safe.

What Makes Work-from-Home Unsafe?

For most people, work-from-home means waking up late, not having to get dressed up and driving all the way to work, enjoying time with family, and having enough time for their favorite pastimes. This is one side of the coin that everyone sees. The other side of the coin isn't the prettiest! While work-from-home means a lot of good things, it also means poor working conditions and a higher risk of long-term health conditions.

Below are some reasons why work-from-home may be unsafe for you:

Higher Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders

One of the biggest risks of working from home is musculoskeletal disorders. Most remote employees aren't mindful of their work posture. They sit for long hours in an incorrect posture that strains their body and puts them at a massive risk of developing posture-related musculoskeletal disorders. Working from your bed, couch, or dining table may feel comfortable, but you may not know that the body pain you feel at the end of each day is because of working in poor ergonomic conditions. Body pain, especially in the neck, shoulders, and lower back, is a sign that your body is getting strained, and if you don't do something about it, the damage will worsen, and you may end up with lifelong disabilities.

Eye Strain

Working from home means spending more time in front of the computer screen than you would have spent at the office. The meetings that were held physically where you took a break from looking at the screen are now being held virtually. This means your eyes aren't getting any breaks. Moreover, the chances that your computer monitor is placed correctly are also slim. All of these factors result in eye strain, and you may experience headaches and blurred vision after spending long hours working on your computer.

Poor Mental Health

You work more hours without even realizing it. If you're working from home, there's no fixed time when you can call it a day! You've got to make yourself available even after office hours. This can become a reason for frustration build up. Working from home also means no physical interaction with coworkers and a sense of isolation. This can also have a negative effect on your mental health. Lastly, working in poor ergonomic conditions can tire you out physically, and this also affects your mood. The absence of a boundary between work and personal life and the lack of physical human interaction and workplace comfort all results in poor mental health.

Making Your Home Office Safe

There's no way better way than saying this but working from home isn't the safest option, especially when you aren't putting in any conscious effort to make it a safe place. However, taking the right steps early on will reduce your risk of suffering from the adverse consequences of working from home.

You can definitely make your home office safe and ensure your well-being and physical and mental health.

We've listed down some ways that'll help you improve the ergonomics of your home office.



1. Invest in the Right Furniture

The primary pieces of equipment you'll need for your home office is the furniture; a work desk, and an office chair. You may make the mistake of using any regular office desk and chair, assuming they're all the same. Only that they aren't. You need an ergonomic work desk and office chair to make your home office a safe place.

Ergonomic furniture reduces the risk of musculoskeletal disorders significantly. Let's see how.

An ergonomic desk like the Standard Standing Desk (E5)comes with an adjustable height feature that allows you to adjust the desk's height to suit your comfort need. If the work desk is too high, you'll have to sit with your back stretched and your arms placed much higher awkwardly. If the desk is too low, you'll have to sit with your back in a forward-bending position. Both of these sitting postures are incorrect and can strain your back, neck, and shoulders. However, when the work desk height is correct, you won't have to sit in an incorrect posture, which forms the basis of musculoskeletal disorder.

An ergonomic chair has unique features that promote a neutral sitting posture. An ergonomic chair has a flexible, highly supportive backrest, armrests, and adjustable height feature. The user can adjust the chair's height so that their feet are comfortably placed flat on the floor. The user can also adjust the depth of the seat according to their physique.

Overall, ergonomic furniture helps you correct your posture and reduce the risk of posture-related musculoskeletal disorders.



2. Install an Adjustable Monitor Mount

The major cause of eye strain is the incorrect position of the monitor screen. The computer monitor should be placed at the right height for the user so that the user doesn't have to sit in an incorrect posture while using the computer. The monitor should also be at the right distance from the user so that the user can read what's on the screen comfortably without straining their eyes. The angle at which the monitor is placed is also very important as it affects the angle at which the user will position their head. Ideally, the monitor should be at an eye-level and at arm's length from the user.

Installing an adjustable monitor mount can ensure all of it; correct height, correct distance, and correct angle. When the monitor is placed correctly, the eye strain is minimized, and correct posture is assured, thereby reducing the risk of eye-strain-related problems (headache, migraine, blurred vision) and posture-related musculoskeletal disorders.



3. Use a Footrest

Sitting for too long can cause blood to pool in your feet, resulting in painful swelling of the feet. Not only this, when the blood pools in the feet and doesn’t flow back to the heart, the load on the heart to meet the oxygen needs of the rest of the body increases, putting you at risk of heart problems. A footrest can help you prevent this from happening. Keeping your feet slightly elevated using a footrest can prevent the blood from pooling in the feet, thereby ensuring smooth blood flow and minimal load on the heart.



4. Use Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse

Computer users are at a high risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, resulting from compression of the median nerve passing through the wrist. When this nerve is compressed, you'll experience a tingling sensation in the fingers and may even experience stiffness in the finger joints that can make typing very painful. However, an ergonomic mouse and keyboard can reduce the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and make your home office safe for you.

An ergonomic keyboard features a unique design that promotes the correct placement of the fingers and wrists while you type. The soft keys ensure minimal stress on the fingers. An ergonomic mouse also has softer and more sensitive keys that reduce the pressure on your fingers as well, thereby reducing the risk of you suffering from the consequences of poor typing ergonomics.



5. Use a Back Support Pillow

Sitting for long hours puts serious pressure on the lower back as most of your weight falls onto your lower back. This is one of the biggest causes of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Using a back support pillow, you can make your home office safer and ensure you aren't at risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. This pillow is contoured to meet the spine's natural curvature so that there's no stress on your lower back.

Closing Word

Work-from-home doesn't have to be unsafe. It's definitely enjoyable, and if you could also ensure your safety while working from home, work-from-home is nothing short of a blessing! The remote working model is here to stay, and if you can take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, you'll successfully achieve the perfect work environment.