If You Work from Home, Make Sure You Have the Proper Setup

Telecommuting also referred to as telework, remote work, flex-work is an alternative work arrangement for employees.   It offers individuals the option to work at home or at an alternative worksite one or more days per week through the use of a laptop­­­, teleconferencing, e-mail or IM (and other forms of  communication).

One of the greatest proponents of Teleworking is the Federal Government.  In 2010 Public Law 111-292 was passed to achieve greater flexibility in managing its workforce through the use of telework. Many Fortune 100-500 companies have embraced the need to implement an aggressive telecommuting program.

The Advantages of Telecommuting:

Telecommuting slows global warming

  • Half-time telecommuting could reduce carbon emissions by over 51 million metric tons a year—the equivalent of taking all of New York’s commuters off the road

Telecommuting increases productivity

  • Businesses lose $600 billion a year in workplace distractions
  • American Express workers produced 43% more than their office based counterpoints

Telecommuting saves employers money

  • Alpine Access Remote Agents close 30% more sales than traditional agents the year before.  Customer complaints decreased by 90%. And turnover decreased by 88%
  • IBM slashed real estate costs by $50 million through telework
  • McKesson’s telecommuting program saves $2 million a year
  • Nortel estimates that they save $100,000 per employee they do not have to relocate

Telecommuting reduces unscheduled absences

  • 78% of employees who call in sick, really aren’t. They do so because of family issues, personal needs, and stress
  • Unscheduled absences cost employers $1,800/employee per year; that adds up to $300 billion/yr for U.S. companies
  • Telecommuters typically continue to work when they’re sick (without infecting others)

The Shortcomings  of Telecommuting:

Management mistrust

  • 75% of managers say they trust their employee, but a third say they’d like to be able to see them, just to be sure

It’s not for everyone

  • Telecommuters must be self-directed
  • They should be comfortable with technology since there is a lack of IT support
  • Home-based employees need to understand that telecommuting is not a suitable replacement for daycare

Working from home is a reality. Survey – Telecommuting May Become More Prevalent authorized by Wrike (a software company) publicized that more people than ever are working from home. Of the 1,074 surveyed; 83% reported working from home for at least part of their workday in 2012, 66% believed that their office could be completely virtual within the next five years. 

Working from home can be extremely liberating; but can create a host health challenges (identical to what a typical office worker may experience) neck/shoulder strain, low back strain, wrist tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.  The greatest risk factors that can develop while telecommuting are awkward postures since most individuals will work on their existing furniture such as a kitchen table or sofa for hours at a time.  The second risk element is repetitive motion.  People who work from home have a tendency to start their day earlier and end the day later since they do not have to spend hours commuting.  These individuals have propensities not to take coffee breaks or lunch breaks since they are by themselves.  So if you are working longer in poor posture there are greater chances of becoming injured.

My goal with this blog is to help individuals and their managers identify the various solutions available to create a proper home office setup.  No matter if the physical space is small or the overall budget is limited, there are several solutions available.

Define the Workspace Parameters:

Budget

  • Review the overall spend plan (since most companies only provide compensation for a laptop, ink & toner) and discuss who will be financially responsible for the purchase of furniture

Location

  • Where do you plan to work?  Is there a designated room or will this space be incorporated in an existing location (e.g. bedroom, basement, kitchen)

Home Office Necessities

  • When developing your home office the essential fundamentals include Adjustable furniture (this can include a height adjustable desk, an appropriate chair, monitor mount(s), laptop stand), air circulation & light, headset and an organized location.

 

Ideally you want to work on a height adjustable desk.  As we state in our practice, there are significant health benefits to standing throughout a work day.  If you have an existing desk, chances are you can possibly retrofit it with a sit-to-stand keyboard tray system & monitor armIf you have limited space (especially apartment dwellers) then consider Laptop Desks (we do recommend using a laptop stand with an external keyboard & mouse).  A chair that fits your body dimensions, work demands and budget is paramount to productivity.  If unsure of what chair to consider, please complete our Ergonomic Chair Recommendation.  Your computer monitor should be placed at a height and distance that allows you to view it well without forcing your neck forward or tilting your head back to see. If you’re hunching downward to view your screen, you can expect to experience pain in your neck, shoulders, or back. An improperly placed screen can also stress your eyes and cause headaches.  If you must work from your kitchen table or counter, by all means elevate the laptop with the use of a laptop riser, separate keyboard & mouse.  Indoor air pollution is on the rise, since 1995, allergy rates in the U.S. have increased by 140% to 60 million sufferers (according to Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America).  Air circulation is an important element.  If you have limited natural sunlight, you may wish to consider adding a desk lamp/undercabinet lighting.  Do not cradle the phone by supporting it with your shoulder use a headset.   Staying neat & organized is very important in a home office, these tools can be very helpful.

 

A TYPICAL HOME OFFICE SETUP…OUCH

 

We design & implement home office solutions for a number of Fortune 100 companies in the US.   We realize that deciding upon which furniture or equipment to consider can be quite overwhelming.  Should you have questions about outfitting your home office; please do not hesitate to contact us at 877-907-8688, info@ergoprise.com or via live chat.

Ergoprise:  is a certified, woman-owned, multi-brand provider of high quality office, mobile, and industrial ergonomic tools located in Austin, Texas. Through our showroom, website, and sales team we offer a broad range of ergonomic products that have been selected to provide individuals with a comfortable working environment that delivers an excellent return on investment.

 

  

 

 

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