During the beginning of this pandemic, when employees first started working from home, it was unknown how long the whole ‘working from home’ phase would last. Employees were excited to be able to sit on their couches or recliners and continue to be just as productive as they were sitting in their offices. As working from home became more permanent, employees began to come up with different ways to set up their at-home workspaces. Some arranged actual desks with adjustable chairs, some moved to a set table and non-adjustable chair combination (i.e., the kitchen table), and some simply remained on the couch or recliner. Regardless of the setup, there was one thing that was probably overlooked by many: how to set up with safety in mind.

When workspaces are arranged in an office setting, many of the safety logistics are typically addressed before the space is set. Employees do not need to worry about things like power, lighting, distance to the computer screen, chair positioning, etc., because those things are often arranged for them. Since the ‘working from home’ phase is now less of a phase and more of a lifestyle, it is important employees minimize the risk of injury by ensuring their at-home workspaces are just as safe as they would be in the office.

Keep the following safety tips in mind when setting up your at-home workspace:

  • Power Sources and power cords: When setting up your devices, make sure you use properly rated power strips or power cords. Use a surge protected power strip when powering several devices. Not doing so can potentially, very easily, damage your computer, data, and system. It is recommended you do not use a power strip to power another power strip. This can cause an overload and potential fire. If you have several power cords in the same area, use zip ties or bands to bunch them together so they do not become a trip hazard. If you have to use an extension cord, make sure it is not laying across a walkway where you, or someone else, could trip.
  • Lighting: When determining where in your living space to set up your workspace, try to find an area that is well lit. It is recommended you do not position your workstation in front of a window. The glare from behind your monitors can cause unnecessary eye strain. Desk lamps or overhead lighting are ideal. Try to eliminate any shadowing in order to reduce additional eye strain.
  • Prevent awkward postures and eye strain: When sitting at your workstation, try to keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows at your side (even with or slightly lower than your keyboard.) Do not overreach for your keyboard or writing tools. When you are in a seated position, your hips should be either level or slightly higher than your knees. Your feet should be grounded. Use a box or footrest to prop them up if they do not reach the floor. If possible, use an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Take regular stretch breaks throughout the day.

Working from home has become permanent for many people. Resourcing Edge hopes the tips above help you minimize the chance of injury and feel more comfortable while working from home. For additional information, please reach out to your Client Account Manager.

John Holbach
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