How can you design and promote ergonomic working in the home office? Working from home offers many advantages. You benefit from more flexibility and an individual workplace. But when it comes to health and safety, this new form of work requires a rethink, as employees are no longer physically present in the office.
Ergonomic working – teleworking or mobile working?
When talking about ergonomic working in the home office, the terms teleworking and mobile working are often used. However, these are not synonyms, but two different concepts. In teleworking, which is also legally defined, the employer sets up a workplace for the employee in his or her private area. There is also the possibility of switching between the workplace in the company and the home office. Teleworking is also subject to the Workplace Ordinance.Mobile working, on the other hand, describes working with one’s own devices, such as a tablet, laptop or computer outside the company. In this case, the employee is responsible for setting up his or her own workplace. The term “mobile working” has not yet been legally defined. Employers must fulfil their protection obligations for both teleworking and mobile working. Regardless of which home office form you choose, the Working Hours Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act must always be observed. Furthermore, the furnishing of the workplace is fundamental for productive work in the home office.
Ergonomic working in the home office
You can use a variety of means to work ergonomically in a home office. First of all, you need a suitable and quiet room in which you feel comfortable. You should make sure that the room temperature is pleasant, that there is plenty of light, that the view from the window is as good as possible and that the desk is large. In addition, there are other generally applicable criteria that you should consider so that working from home is healthy and productive.
Ergonomic furniture and work materials
Setting up the workplace ergonomically does not have to be difficult. The office chair should be individually adjustable and the employee’s eyes should be able to look straight ahead at the screen. An ergonomic desk helps to ensure a comfortable working posture. The chair and the desk should not restrict legroom, as the freedom of movement of the legs contributes significantly to the feeling of well-being at the workplace. Also, make sure that the keyboard and mouse meet ergonomic criteria. It is also a good idea to use a separate mouse when working on a laptop.
Define working hours and tasks
Get up later, no rush hour and no long ride on a crowded train. Employees can really save time in the home office. But how does this affect working hours? In fact, many employees report significantly higher productivity. However, it is important here to supplement the initial exuberance of teleworking with realistic expectations and defined working hours. Because employees can quickly overexert themselves with the extra time they gain. So set fixed working hours or a defined duration of work beforehand. Agreeing on breaks also helps to structure the working day. If possible, workers should also leave the room, go for a walk or retreat to a place of wellbeing.
Avoiding psychological stress
Psychological stress should be avoided in every working relationship. In the home office, one of the challenges is not being able to maintain physical contact. Here it is helpful to assign a responsible person to the employees for their worries and needs. You should also pay attention to daily communication within the team. While some people enjoy the freedom of mobile working, others may feel overwhelmed by it. Open and honest communication helps to ensure that the whole team is doing well, which in turn strengthens the company and boosts productivity.
Learning from the professionals
The companies that have the most experience with occupational safety and ergonomic working in the home office are those that have been dealing with remote working models and working from home for many years and live the philosophy of remote work themselves. On the website of NewWorkLife, for example, you can find helpful information and tips on the topic of remote work as well as a blog series in which German remote companies regularly introduce themselves – including outsourcing4work. As a partner, consultant and mediator of IT professionals and provider of cost-efficient BPO solutions, we have been working 100% remotely for many years and are one of the oldest and largest German remote companies. Ergonomic working in the home office is also a major concern for our company. We are happy to share our many years of experience in workplace design with you. Visit our website to learn more about outsourcing4work.