Work ergonomically in the home office

Work ergonomically in the home office

This is how you optimally equip your home office workplaces

Work in the home office is increasing. After initial skepticism, more and more employers and their employees agree on this - currently in the Corona crisis anyway. However, acute and quickly established home offices offer advantages and disadvantages. The physiotherapist and ergonomics consultant Susanne Weber from the company Ergoimpuls now brings the ergonomic aspects of this trend into play for you.

Ms. Weber, if now ad hoc infection protection against corona companies set up home offices that were previously skeptical about this topic, what mistakes are often made?

Employees who have always worked in the company office have to sort themselves first: Where in my apartment do I set up my work place? Do I have a separate room, a suitable table, a suitable chair? If possible, employees should choose a separate area for their workplace - e.g. B. the corner of a room where you can permanently set up your work equipment. The kitchen table is less suitable.

If the boss can no longer show up in the office and you are not supposed to go to the door anyway because of Corona, you are quickly tempted to hang out on the couch in a jogging suit. What do you think?

When employees work sitting, it is best to always sit at a table. Alternatively, you can work on a high chest of drawers while standing - ideally alternating both. Working on the couch or on the floor promotes an unfavorable posture and leads to long-term stress and pain. Since we won't release the Corona virus next week, you should set up your home office for long-term use.

Ergonomics in the home office

The decisive factor for the performance of the employee is the appropriate equipment of the workplace - at home as well as in the company. Who of us can work from the park bench?

Production employees are of course in demand at the location, but colleagues in sales, IT, controlling, financial accounting, marketing, design or communication are enjoying the freedom of working anywhere. "It doesn't really matter where I work," many say. And some may dream of sitting on the lake or on a park bench with their laptop in summer and on the sofa in front of the fireplace or in a cozy café in winter. I doubt whether this will meet the required concentration. It certainly does not meet the necessary criteria of ergonomics, i.e. the science of the performance possibilities and limits of working people.

Who is actually responsible for optimal workplace design in the home office?

The design of the home office of the individual employee is subject to the duty of care of the employer as well as the workplace in the company and must of course meet the criteria of occupational safety. Important questions when setting up are: Has a risk assessment been carried out? Does the workplace have sufficient daylight and artificial light? A number of companies have already made company agreements for their home workplaces and have developed corresponding standards. Others are just beginning. I have developed a test that enables an initial ergonomic assessment of the home office workplace.

What are the most important criteria for a good job at home?

Good employers score with perfectly set home office jobs. This includes

  • an individually adjustable work chair
  • a height-adjustable table
  • a separate screen that can also be individually adjusted using a monitor arm
  • a separate keyboard and mouse as well
  • ideal lighting conditions.

It is not enough to provide the individual employees with these tools - they also need to know how to deal with them and what is important.

How do you go z. B. with an office chair? What must he be able to do?

The correct seat height is important when adjusting the office chair. The knee joints must be positioned vertically above the heels when sitting. The back of the chair is best adjusted so that the most arched section is at belt height. The pressure against the backrest promotes balance and movement when sitting. The weight of the arms is completely transferred to the armrests; The upper and lower arm form an angle of approximately 90 degrees. The table height is aligned with the height of the armrests. Crucial here: the shoulders are relaxed.

The most important tool in the home office is likely to be the computer. What is important for the screen?

When setting and tilting the screen, please note: The top and bottom lines must be able to be captured without moving the head.  Good lighting conditions are also important. The screen should not be in front of the window, but at a right angle so that daylight does not dazzle.

I can no longer go to the gym because of Corona, sports clubs are also closed - how do I take care of myself and my health in the home office?

Interrupt long periods of sitting and get up for phone calls or video conferencing. Position changes and active breaks are effective measures to reduce pain and discomfort in the lower back. I recommend not sitting for more than two hours in a row and getting up and walking for five to ten minutes every hour. Of course, this also applies to working in the company office. I would also be happy to send interested parties a five-minute workout by video. Just a few minutes a day are enough to activate the intervertebral discs, the musculoskeletal system and the fascia in a targeted manner, thereby preventively preventing a multitude of complaints and also ensuring a high level of mental balance.

Thank you very much, Ms. Weber, for the interview!

Do you want to set up your home office ergonomically? Our Novus more-space-system will help you!

Helpful - The home office test

Test your home office with the help of these questions: Twelve to fourteen times "yes" means that the workplace is completely fine. Five to eleven times "yes" has room for improvement, and two to four times: your workplace should definitely be optimized.

Workplace:

I always work in a separate study

yes / no

I always work in my own workplace in the apartment

yes / no

How I work:

I sit a little at work

yes / no

I often stand at work

yes / no

Office chair:

I have my own office chair

yes / no

I can adjust the seat height

yes / no

I can adjust the backrest

yes / no

I put the chair on my needs

yes / no

I use the movement / dynamics of the backrest

yes / no

Work surface:

I have my own work desk

yes / no

I have a sufficiently large work surface

yes / no

I can adjust the height of my work surface

yes / no

Computer:

I am working on a laptop with a separate keyboard and screen

yes / no

I work with a separate mouse

yes / no

This is the law

Legal regulations "teleworking"
Requirements for occupational health and safety apply to the normal VDU workstation and also for the teleworking station (working in the home office).

According to Section 2 Paragraph 7 of the ArbstättV (Workplace Ordinance), teleworking stations are computer workstations that are permanently set up by the employer in the private sphere of the employees, for which the employer has defined a weekly working time agreed with the employees and the duration of the establishment. In addition, the conditions of teleworking must be stipulated in the employment contract or within the framework of an agreement, and the necessary equipment for the teleworking workplace with furniture, work equipment, including communication facilities must be provided and installed by the employer or a person commissioned by him in the private sphere of the employee. (Source: 27th Dresden Occupational Safety Colloquium, November 6, 2018: Workplaces - new regulations and practical implementation; Dr. Kersten Bux: Requirements for teleworking and mobile work)

Legal regulations "mobile work"
When working on the move, employees do their work at any location, such as for customers, on business trips, in a hotel or on the train, and therefore do not need a permanent job in the company. "Mobile working" is not subject to the ArbStättV.

By the way: Not only ergonomics, but also data protection according to the GDPR is important in the home office!