Does Home Office Ergonomics Training Open a Can of Worms?

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on July 8, 2020

can of worms-1

This country has been in a big “reset” lately! Everything has changed. To survive in our new economy, companies have had to become more mindful of the impact COVID-19 has had on their employees and customers. Companies thriving right now demonstrate agility, resilience, and a unifying purpose within their organizations and externally to their community. There is a significant emphasis on holistic wellbeing to include mental, physical, financial, and social wellness.

A Can of Worms

Leadership’s focus is on wellbeing more than ever before. Exceptional leaders are demonstrating constant, reliable communication with employees that did not exist four months ago. They are making decisions quicker than ever with ruthless re-prioritizing of goals for operational clarity and employee wellness.

So, when a new prospect scoffed at providing employees online home office ergonomics training to help ensure proper workstation set up, I was blown away by their response. Their reply to my suggestion was, “… to offer this training at this point-months after we have been sent home to work remotely, may open a can of worms from a workers’ compensation perspective.” To further the response, they decided to wait until things were more back to normal if that happens!

Well-Designed Training

As a professional ergonomist and trainer for almost 30 years, there is no evidence to justify the rumor or anticipation of a rash of workers’ compensation claims the employer felt would happen in response to providing home office ergonomics training.

In fact, the opposite happens.

When employers offer well-designed training reflective of the learning objectives and geared towards employee participation, self-correction, and self-improvement, employees do just that! They accept responsibility by recognizing ways to improve and make changes in their work practices and workstation set up by applying the concepts taught in training.

How do I know?

I asked over 100 students who recently took our most popular course, Work@Home Ergonomics,

“What is one valuable thing you learned from this virtual training you can do right away to improve your home office ergonomics? “


20 Ways Ergonomics Training Improves Employee Wellbeing

Here are 20 (twenty) exact responses I received from participants, demonstrating the high-value this type of program provides during these critical times. What is remarkable about the list is each student picked out a unique, essential area to change, relevant to them.

  1. Continue to be mindful of neutral positions to prevent straining or putting pressure on wrists.
  2. Use the keyboard and mouse instead of the laptop keyboard and trackpad.
  3. I need to pay more attention to keyboard, mouse and monitor distance to improve my home office ergonomics
  4. How to correct posture using household items and to become more aware of how to limit my contact stress.
  5. Use a footrest and pay attention to posture throughout the day.
  6. Use items found at home to adjust the desk for ergonomics settings.
  7. How to make my dining room chair be more ergo-friendly.
  8. Posture!
  9. Try a towel to add padding to the top half of my chair back.
  10. Sitting more upright and looking straight to a monitor instead of down.
  11. Having the proper setup.
  12. Move my mouse closer to my body, so I don’t stretch my arm so far away.
  13. I can adjust the height of the laptop, use a (back and seat) cushion on the upright chair, and stand every 15 minutes and move.
  14. You can make your home office comfortable with the tips the training gave us.
  15. Allow for movement and stretching. Use adequate lighting and have a designated work area.
  16. Take more breaks-get up and walk around, refocus my eyes.
  17. How to have proper posture and eye level when working at a desk with a laptop.
  18. Good home office ergonomics improves work productivity.
  19. Adjust my monitors.
  20. Since being at home, I notice I sit in my chair differently than I would with my coworkers around me. It is easy to get back into bad habits, so having this training is a good reminder.

And, after the training was over, there were no workers’ compensation claims filed!

Just Rumors!

Well-designed training can be transformative!

As you can see, employees appreciate and learn from home office ergonomics training by changing their behavior! 

Don’t let rumors and suppositions get in the way of you providing online home office ergonomics training for your employees. Home office ergonomics training is an excellent return on investment strategy to stave off the filing of claims and to improve employee health and wellbeing. It’s never too late or inappropriate to send a message to employees about how much you care about their wellness at work or at home.





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