The person who works from home is just as vulnerable to ergonomic bodily discomforts just as the person in the office, and maybe even more so. It is nice to say you can do all your work in the privacy of your home office, not worry about getting dressed, and just lounge about in your PJ's... and not pay much attention to the type of equipment you sit in. Eventually, someday down the road you may begin to feel those musculoskeletal discomforts.
Repetitive strain injuries (RSI's) also called musculoskeletal disorders (MSD's) are the leading cause of ergonomic Worker Compensation (WC) costs. You can change the furniture but until you look at the whole equation of the work area + the Human Body, it is not a complete evaluation to cut these spiraling WC costs.
• The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) defines MSD's as injuries and disorders of muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilages, and spinal discs. MSD's are caused by excessive and repeated physical stress on the musculoskeletal system - the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, and back.
• According to OSHA, the average cost per incidence of an MSD is estimated to be $12,000, which includes lost work with full wages, replacement wages, lost productivity, and medical treatment (not including surgery). If surgery is required, the average cost bumps up to $43,000 per incidence according to the American Society of Orthopedic Surgeons.
• However, these figures DO NOT include the effects of these injuries that are not always easy to see:
• The hidden costs due to slower production, lower quality, job retraining, unemployment, and long-term disabilities.
• Or the lifestyles of millions of people that are affected every year due to the pain and discomfort of these unfortunate injuries; Workers with severe MSD's often are unable to return to their jobs or even manage the simplest of tasks, such as combing their hair.
• An abstract on Office Ergonomics and MSD's showed a decrease in MSD's due to ergonomic training. Applied Ergonomics, Vol.44, No.1, pp.73-85, 2013 ~ Office Ergonomics Training
Even if you live at home, design a work area that is both ergonomically efficient as well office, the less WC costs for your employer and the possible loss of your job due to having an office like the one up above.
A few suggestions that could save your body much agonizing discomfort:
The Home Office Equipment should be set up for your comfort and easy reach.
1. Buy a comfortable chair that fits your body. Remove the arm rests.
2. Use a foot rest if necessary.
3. Provide good natural lighting to prevent glare.
4. Use a document holder so you won't have to look down while typing briefs.
5. Adjust the backrest to support your lower back.
6. Your knees and arms should be at 90 degree angles.
7. Adjust the monitor.
8. Adjust the keyboard, lower the legs in the back, bring it close enough to place your hands over it without laying them down on a desk.
9. Drink plenty of good spring water throughout your day, so as not to become dehydrated.
10. GET UP every hour and stretch. This will help you get your circulation moving.
11. Remember to Breathe. When concentrating hard on a project, sometimes we forget to take deep breaths. The more oxygen you take in, the better your brain functions.