Ergonomics and teleworking: how to work well from home?

With the health crisis, teleworking has become commonplace for companies whose activity allows it. However, according to several studies, it is not always easy to follow ergonomic recommendations. MSDs, eye fatigue, lack of physical activity… Discover the impact of teleworking on health and our advice for working well from home.

The ergonomic and psychosocial risks of teleworking

While it quickly became essential in these times of health crisis, teleworking carries certain risks. both ergonomic and psychosocial that should be identified in order to be able to better understand them.

The French, if they were rather satisfied with teleworking at the beginning of the health crisis, realized over time that this remote working mode is not necessarily suitable for everyone, and must be optimized to be able to work on a daily basis in good conditions. Telecommuting has also been a constraint for many workers, and not a deliberate choice.

Rising stress and declining social ties

Some studies are now available to help us really measure the impacts of teleworking both on the mental health of teleworkers, but also on their bodies.

First observation: teleworking, even if you mainly work from home, generates stress. This phenomenon was mainly observed at the start of the health crisis, when the introduction of teleworking had to be rushed. Acquiring videoconferencing equipment, tools and software, a new rhythm, finding a balance between personal and professional life have not been easy for many employees.

The lack of social connection after several months of restrictions is also felt. Since communication takes place mainly by e-mail, it is sometimes distorted and can lead to stress and misunderstandings.

Increase in MSDs and impacts on hearing health

Due to a lack of suitable equipment, sufficient space in the home and an optimal working environment, teleworking also has an impact on the physical body of employees.

If MSDs are more and more frequent in companies, they are increasingly the subject of increased prevention to prevent their occurrence. But at home, we no longer benefit from the equipment that we used to use in a professional setting.

The MSDs most frequently encountered in teleworking are located at the shoulders, neck, back and wrist.

In addition to stress, MSDs also increase sleep deprivation and fatigue during the day.

Other impact of teleworking on health : hearing discomfort more pronounced than before. According to one IFOP survey published on October 6 by the JNA association, more than one in 2 assets teleworking declares to be bothered by the surrounding noise. In question: the increase in telephone conversations, videoconferences, urban noise or surrounding personal and family interactions.

A personal and professional life balance that is difficult to maintain

Teleworking also has an impact on work-life balance for a majority of employees. They are like this 46% to declare that they had not been able to take advantage of the presence of their family during confinement. More than half of respondents also regretted not having been able to meet their family obligations because of their schedule or the difficulty in taking time off work once the day is over.

Ergonomics and teleworking: our recommendations for optimal comfort

To make the optimal teleworking , some advice can be put in place to prevent all psychosocial and physical risks:

Arrange your workspace

No matter where in your home you have the opportunity to work, choose a location where you can set up a real office . Avoid teleworking on your sofa or on the living room table if you have the possibility. Whatever space you have, make sure you can rest your forearms along the entire length of the table to avoid tension. Invest in a sit-stand desk will also prevent you from staying static for too long.
As for the office, the choice of your chair will be just as essential for telecommute comfortably . The ideal is to opt for a model that will allow you to put your feet flat on the ground, and to have at least a backrest and an adjustable seat to be at the right height and keep your back straight throughout. the day.

If you work on a laptop computer, invest in a mouse, ergonomic if possible to limit the use of the pad built into your tool. You can also get an independent keyboard with a wrist rest for maximum comfort, as well as a laptop riser to raise your screen and thus avoid tension and pain in the neck, very common!

Also make sure you have a sufficient and suitable lighting to limit the eye strain responsible for the onset of headaches or dry eyes, especially if you are working with printed materials. Do not hesitate to invest in a ergonomic document holder if this is the case to limit the tensions as well.

Find out more: Telecommuting: How to survive during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

Impose new positive habits

In order to prevent the psychosocial risks of teleworking , it is necessary to reduce the sources of stress as much as possible and to adopt new positive habits to maintain and increase your level of well-being.

For example, wake up and go to bed every day at the same time , so as not to disturb your biological clock and impose a rhythm on you. In teleworking, we can easily forget the breaks , yet essential for concentration, motivation and productivity.

As far as possible, impose on yourself a end time for your working day , and stay away from screens as much as possible in order to separate your professional and personal life. Also don't forget to move as much as possible during the day, by going for a walk outside for a few minutes, by doing a few stretching or by practicing a physical activity that you like to limit the effects of sedentary lifestyle on your body as well as on your mind.