8 Ergonomic Best Practices For Your Remote Onboarding Process

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on February 9, 2021


Your Onboarding Process

Having a consistent onboarding process for new hires can make or break any employment relationship. In today’s new way of working, a personal, and well-designed remote onboarding process for new hires is more important than ever. Recent high growth industries that have taken off during the pandemic, such as grocery stores, manufacturing of pandemic-related products, pharmaceuticals, high-tech, digital platforms, and cloud-based services, and more rely on an effective online, on-boarding process. This is particularly important for employees working remotely at home.

 Gallup has found that the way a company onboards is a key factor in employee retention. Harvard Business Review points out onboarding is a high priority for corporate leaders around the world, and yet only 12% of employees strongly agree their employer does a great job onboarding their people—and that was before the pandemic.

So, how do you onboard and train new remote staff so they feel as welcomed and productive as your pre-pandemic staffers? Experts recommend several ways to help your new hires build commitment, confidence, and competency, so they feel a part of your team.

Is Ergonomics a Part of Your Onboarding Process?

Currently there is no federal OSHA policy directed towards home office inspections or workstation set up, nor does OSHA expect employers to do so. However, the General Duty Clause of the OSHA Act still applies.

Employers must work with remote workers to ensure their home office is free and safe from hazards, including poor workstation set up and exposure to repetitive tasks or awkward postures..  Workers' compensation claims can still be filed from home resulting in claim costs for you in the thousands. To avoid claims and prevent the onset of discomfort, ergonomics should be a part of your technical and organizational onboarding process. Therefore, employers should ensure that any equipment they provide to home-based employees is in safe working condition and employees are instructed in its safe installation and proper use.

8 Ergonomics Strategies for Onboarding Your Remote Workers

Here are eight new hire remote onboarding strategies to ensure proper ergonomics at home:

  1. Have a remote work from home policy that includes your ergonomics program and expectations.
  2. Determine what your company believes is an acceptable home office set up to support good ergonomics. This should include a combination of the following items (but not limited to):
    1. Laptop, laptop riser, external keyboard, and external mouse
    2. External monitor, laptop, external keyboard, and mouse.
    3. As an option, a sit to stand desktop or an electric sit to stand desk.
    4. A suitable ergonomic chair
    5. A telephone headset
    6. A remote video camera
  3. Offer an online self-assessment survey to assess risk and help employees with set up and self-correction of their workstation. Or provide a simple home office checklist of the recommended equipment your company will support or provide to the employee along with proper setup criteria.
  4. Include a stipend to purchase the necessary ergonomic equipment, if the employee does not have any of the above or needs to replace theirs at home as the quality is not suitable for all day use. Use a reliable list of products that have been vetted by an ergonomist to ensure the products will not create further problems when used at home.
  5. Provide a live virtual ergonomics seminar or self-paced, on-demand training with a professional ergonomist to go over the best way to work from home, the set up and use of all equipment provided and safe work practices to reflect your organization’s ergonomics program.
  6. Establish recommended work pacing and safe work practice strategies and guidelines on how long to sit, stand and get away from the workstation during the day. This can be included in your ergonomics training.
  7. Offer home office coaching with the professional ergonomist trained in remote ergonomics, if the employee is struggling with a comfortable workstation set up.
  8. If your employees become symptomatic, offer a home office preventive ergonomic evaluation performed by a professional ergonomist who understands symptom management, root cause analysis, and is trained in remote ergonomics.

Include Ergonomics from the Start

Providing an exceptional onboarding process that includes ergonomics from the very start will help you minimize difficulties for your new hires with the onset of early discomfort, distractions, and lost productivity due to an improper workstation set up or improper use.

While there are many other aspects to onboarding, ergonomics is an important part of your process that encourages employee engagement, inclusion, and accountability to your organization’s safety process. Proper remote onboarding strategies including ergonomics, will also help you build a passionate, vision-driven workforce giving you a competitive edge in your market with a healthy and safe workforce wherever they work around the globe!

Take advantage of the numerous resources linked in this article to enhance your onboarding process. 



  1. https://ehsdailyadvisor.blr.com/2020/10/are-there-safety-statutes-or-position-papers-on-home-office-ergonomics/
  2. https://au.hudson.com/insights/article/how-to-manage-onboarding-remotely
  3. https://www.telework.gov/training-resources/telework-faqs/equipment-and-safety/
  4. https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/onboarding-best-practices/


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