Because of the pandemic, millions of people in the world are now working remotely using digital tools, embracing a model that, were it not for these circumstances, would have taken much longer to be implemented on a large scale in the workplace.
Remote work, whether in a systematic or partial way, has certainly become a constant, with increasing acceptance by businesses and employees.
But, regardless of its advantages, such as family matchmaking, fewer trips, reduced traffic and pollution, and time savings, remote work can have a negative impact on health, due to the use of inappropriate furniture and equipment. Workspace distribution.
This can have consequences: from musculoskeletal injuries or discomfort, visual and mental fatigue and tingling in the legs, to dizziness, cramps, lower back pain and tendonitis, according to experts in work environment and occupational hazards.
In this sense, 55% of respondents to the survey conducted by the company for the design and manufacture of workspaces Actiu, claim to have had or know someone who has experienced musculoskeletal problems and the discomfort associated with using inappropriate furniture while working remotely recently.
This company (www.actiu.com) is part of the Spanish Telework Observatory (OTaD), an initiative that aims to contribute to the expansion of the remote work model that provides safety for workers and companies, contributes to adapting to the new working realities and more flexibility and efficiency.
healthy home office
“One of the main issues in creating a ‘home office’ (home office) is the selection of approved chairs and tables, but tasks such as lighting, ventilation, environmental conditions, active rest periods and rotations must also be considered,” according to Soledat Berpigal, consultant and brand reputation manager. actio.
“We know that movement enhances creativity and improves productivity. If the user can move freely, this means that his muscles are activated, their stress, effort and tension are reduced, and at the same time they become more efficient and productive, always with the aim of maintaining a healthy body and mind,” he points out.
The expert tells Efe that taking care of the health and condition of the body is critical during long working hours.
“For this reason, it is important to organize the work day, and schedules, including scheduled breaks, with the goal of promoting body movement,” he says.
Berbegal emphasizes incorporating active rest periods, i.e. short breaks of a few minutes during which stretching exercises and movement of muscles and joints are carried out, and the alternation of various tasks during the work day in the ‘home office’, to avoid mental and physical load.
Also keep in mind that the choice of furniture is crucial.
“A suitable table and chair are essential to carry out the work and comply with the standards and regulations for durability, ergonomics, stability and safety applicable to office furniture, as they will be used on a regular basis for professional purposes,” he points out.
According to studies and experts in ergonomics, it is recommended that this “home office” furniture is designed and manufactured to respond to body movements.
Berpigal points out that there are work chairs that “care about the back and posture, which in addition to offering good lumbar support, a wide seat and armrests and rotation, have backs with intelligent response, which “recognize and interpret” the user’s movements and anticipate, and adapt their shape, length, inclination and torsion.”
“There are also foldable, lift and movable functional tables, with a height-adjusting system that requires no electricity and operates via a button that activates the gas piston, and controls the rise or fall of the work surface, allowing alternating work from standing and sitting and facilitating movement.”
The Director of Innovation at the Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia (IBV), Rosa Borcar, points out that the “home office”, as a normal work space, must comply with all requirements and implications for occupational hazards, since, in fact, furniture directly affects the health of the worker “.
Work environment for remote work
According to Aktio experts, using comfortable furniture and performing movement and stretching exercises (active pauses) prevents pain from poor posture.
They point out that the right chair and table for remote work are the two comfortable seats that maintain correct posture.
Furniture should allow remote workers to keep their head raised, shoulders relaxed and their back straight, and their eyes turned forward, according to this specialist company.
In addition, they recommend that the arms and legs be bent at a 90-degree angle (the forearm is to the arm and the thigh is to the leg) in a seated position, with the hands on the same line with the arms and feet. floor or footrest.
They also advise that the chair have a movable base to be able to do the effort with the legs and not the trunk.
When working remotely at home, the screen should be in the middle of the line of sight, the reading material should be easily accessible and the lighting should be correct and moderate, as indicated.
Berbigale, for his part, adds that “light, as natural as possible, is an essential element of productivity in the ‘home office’, as it enhances well-being, increases creativity and facilitates task development in a more flexible and efficient manner.”
He also stresses the importance of having the right hardware that facilitates correct body posture, such as a monitor that allows you to keep your back straight and your gaze straight, rather than a small laptop at a low altitude that forces you to bend your neck.
“Monitors, keyboards, and other items needed to operate should be placed at an appropriate distance from the body to ensure comfort,” he adds.
Berpigal concludes that “proper digital tools allow to work remotely, to be connected most of the time to the rest of the co-workers, using shared content platforms and video conferencing efficiently.”