Net Friends Guide to Workspace Ergonomics for WFH

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Net Friends

Given the changing nature of the workforce today, employees are dealing with a variety of new obstacles. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how the workplace operates and employee expectations as more Americans work from home. In the United States, nearly half (46%) of full-time workers struggle with mental health concerns, rising from 39% prior to the pandemic, according to a study done by The Standard. As the fully or partially remote work models proliferate, it has drawn attention to physical and mental health issues that employees should keep an eye on.  Discover some WFH wellness tips we’ve collected to empower your distributed workforce toward prioritizing their health:

What is Workplace Ergonomics?

For millions of remote workers, an ordinary workday involves spending eight or more hours seated at a desk using a computer. According to an Airtasker poll, remote workers put in more work each day, work longer hours, and take fewer breaks than their office-based colleagues. Workplace ergonomics involves designing a workspace to lessen team members' fatigue and lower the risk of work injuries. In many workplaces today, workers spend hours performing repetitive tasks, which can cause physical strain or injury, especially if the jobs aren't supported by adequate ergonomic design. Let’s explore the best ways that you can reduce office strain and make your home workspace ergonomically friendly.

Move More and Sit Less

  • Using a standing desk can have impressive benefits for health and may increase productivity. Consider getting a standing desk such as the Autonomous SmartDesk Pro. This is the standard-issued desk here at Net Friends.  
  • Stand up during phone calls or take brief breaks to stroll around the room or outside to keep your body moving. While we love to see each other's faces while we chat, there are plenty of times when we just need to chat and not utilize our cameras. These are great moments to turn the camera off and do something productive such as laundry or a short walk.
  • According to a recent study, getting up and moving around for three minutes every 30 minutes may mitigate the negative health effects of prolonged sitting.
  • You can also rely on movement tracking apps (i.e., via Apple Watch) that alert you to a regular cadence to stand up and stretch.
  • When you need to be seated, pick a chair with supportive backrests. At Net Friends, all our staff are issued the Autonomous ErgoChair Pro.  

Take Steps to Reduce Eye Strain

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule to prevent eye strain. Every 20 minutes, take a break from staring at the computer screen and spend 20 seconds concentrating on something 20 feet away.
  • Make sure your home office is well lit with natural light. Sitting next to a window may keep your eyes from getting fatigued.
  • Be mindful of the effects of blue light. While blue light has some advantages, such as increasing attentiveness and mood, too much of it may have negative effects. Due to widespread awareness regarding the effects of blue light, you can find various screen protectors such as this one, that helps to filter out blue light from your technology.

Eliminate Distractions

  • Use your phone's "Do Not Disturb" feature to block calls, texts, and notifications until you complete your tasks.
  • Restrict any irrelevant websites and social media platforms that you frequently find yourself browsing through.
  • Utilize the Pomodoro Technique. To encourage prolonged attention and prevent mental tiredness, this well-known time management technique requires you to alternate focused work spurts called “pomodoros” with frequent brief breaks.
  • It's advisable to work in a room with a door if there are other individuals or pets present in your house.
  • Use a headset with a microphone for teleconference conversations or to muffle outside noise while working.
  • Create clear boundaries when work begins and ends. Net Friends issues company laptops to all staff, and we encourage everyone to close the lid and step away outside of work hours. This establishes a clearer indicator of a workstation that indicates when you are at work vs. at leisure.

General Physical Wellness Tips

  • Legs should be parallel to the floor and feet should be flat on the ground when the chair height is adjusted.  
  • Position your computer so that you can look straight at the screens without bending your neck downward or to the side.
  • Ensure that your arms form a 90-degree angle when typing.
  • Allow enough space for the keyboard and mouse on the desk.

Make Your Workspace Ergonomically Friendly

Although the leadership team at Net Friends is not specifically trained in ergonomics, they are aware of the value of putting a strong emphasis on wellness. New surveys and empirical data appear to suggest that decreased activity, increased levels of stress, and working from home have all negatively impacted physical and mental health. These are our top recommendations for keeping an ergonomically sound workplace. If you work from home, you can utilize these suggestions to make sure you continue to work safely and effectively in the new workplace climate.  

Originally Published: August 18, 2022
Revised: May 22, 2023

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