Top 10 Pandemic Predictions for Workplace Ergonomics in 2022 and How to Prove Them Wrong

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on January 5, 2022


What the Experts Say

The pandemic is unfortunately here to stay for at least two more years says Toolie Garner, a remote leadership expert. Toolie and I spoke recently where she indicated it will literally take the entire world getting vaccinated before the pandemic slows. New variants will continue to emerge and air travel makes it easy for the virus variants to spread globally.

Toolie also feels remote work is here to stay because it is safer for workers. Employees need to know their airspace is safe, and that going to work will not mean infecting their families when they come home. Most companies have not invested in any kind of air filtration or UV-C light cleansing equipment. She compares an 8-hour day in an office is like a big petri dish! Ugh!

Remote Work is Here to Stay

To add to employee concerns, leaders who thought “this was all over” and that it’s “time to come back to the office” only exacerbate the distress workers feel. Leaders need to adjust their expectations and support remote workers with suitable workstations that fit their home space and are ergonomically friendly.

According to, 32% of all employees worldwide will be remote workers by the end of 2021 up from 17% of employees in 2019. The number increases if you talk about knowledgeable workers (like writers, accountants, engineers, etc.). Gartner forecasts that 51% of global knowledge employees will work remotely by the end of 2021. This is up from 27% of knowledge workers in 2019.

Pandemic Predictions for Workplace Ergonomics

As we see it, here are our top 2022 predictions for workplace ergonomics.

Prediction 1:

As the pandemic persists, so will remote work; hybrid and onsite work will continue to be unpredictable due to ongoing variations of COVID like Delta and Omicron variants, plus employee fear of exposure despite vaccinations, masking, and employer efforts. Remote ergonomic evaluations are underutilized by employers contributing to employee frustration.

How to prove it wrong: 

Based on CDC guidance and OSHA, require vaccination of all employees who return to the workplace with limited exceptions, continue masking, and the 6 feet of separation rule, test routinely. Make a commitment to work at home for all those who can for the time being. Develop a smart work from home policy and culture. 


Prediction 2: 

Employers will continue to struggle with how to manage both onsite and at home employee health, well-being, and productivity demands. 

How to prove it wrong: 

Develop an ergonomics process policy that incorporates office and home evaluations (onsite and remote), online self-paced, on-demand ergonomics training, and an adequate stipend to select the proper equipment for improved home office ergonomics.


Prediction 3:

Employees will continue to struggle with proper workstation setup because employers fail to train employees on exactly what is meant by “ergonomic workstation” set up.

How to prove it wrong: 

Ergonomics is not intuitive. Employees need to be taught and then practice proper office and home ergonomics. Employees need easy-accessible, well-designed training resources. 


Prediction 4: 

Employers will continue to invest in desk converters to support employee postural change, not understanding the true impact of these devices that don’t allow neutral seated postures for most employees.

How to prove it wrong: 

Desk on desk converters when placed on a fixed height desk, typically set at 29” H, will inevitably be too tall for most men and women. Be sure to invest in several styles that offer below the desk keyboard and mouse placement. Better yet, buy a fully adjustable electric sit to stand desk. The price is comparable, but the fit is far better.


Prediction 5:

Employers will fail to provide sufficient stipends to allow employees to effectively purchase quality home office equipment unless the employer is Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, or Apple with a $1000 stipend. Employees will only be able to purchase inferior quality chairs if the stipend is less than $250.00. Employees will continue to guess what to buy as they have little ergonomic knowledge to know the difference. 

How to prove it wrong: 

Establish an approved ergonomics product buyers guide, or list developed by a qualified ergonomics specialist to identify appropriate home office products needed. Develop a complimentary approved purchase process for remote work. Take out the guesswork for employees!


Prediction 6:

Employees will continue to experience (right) upper extremity discomfort from the neck to shoulder to the elbow, forearm to wrist and hand associated with improper keyboard and mouse placement, device design, and improper use (associated with laptop and desktop computers).

How to prove it wrong: 

A notebook mouse is typically too small for 90% of men and 75% of women, yet it is a commonly purchased size identified as leading to right upper extremity overuse. Offer several larger wired/wireless and alternative ergonomic mice for employees based on your employee statures and tasks performed. Do the same for keyboards with and without inclusive ten key options. See Prediction 5. 


Prediction 7:

Employers and employees with stipends will continue to purchase inferior import chairs which lack adjustability, comfort and fit necessary for all-day computer use.

How to prove it wrong: 

Employers should invest in chair asset management and perform routine chair preventive maintenance by using the WI Chair Assessment System to measure the quality, and sustainability of their existing chairs. Work with a Chair Assessment Specialist to create a chair standards program designed to offer chairs that fit all your workers. 


Prediction 8:

Employees will continue to sit awkwardly in their work chairs without good support because they lack awareness of proper neutral sitting postures and how to effectively adjust their chairs to fit to their worksurface. 

How to prove it wrong: 

Chairs are the most important asset in the modern office yet the most undervalued, unappreciated, and misunderstood because chair ergonomics and the science of sitting isn’t common sense or commonly practiced. The chair is the foundation to good workstation ergonomics. If the chair isn't correct, the workstation fit will never be right!


Prediction 9:

Employers will purchase sit-to-stand electric desks, but the desks won’t adjust through the most effective range to allow proper sit to stand for 95% of men and women. See Prediction 4. 

How to prove it wrong: 

The recommended range for a sit to stand desk for universal fit is 22”-47” H. The people employers rely on to select, purchase, and install their furniture typically are not certified in ergonomics and often have less than two hours of ergonomics training under their belt.  They often lack the knowledge to select proper equipment for your employees.  Enroll your facilities, purchasing and ergonomics team members in one of our professional ergonomics courses leading to a certificate in office, remote, or chair ergonomics to ensure internal expertise. 


Prediction 10:

Employers will fail to invest sufficiently in workplace ergonomics and well-being this year resulting in employee dissatisfaction, increased discomfort contributing to the onset of new workers’ compensation claims, and potentially more employee resignations.

How to prove it wrong: 

Build a robust ergonomics process designed to prevent injuries and enhance remote work experience! The average cost of a seated work injury (in California) is about $40,000.00 for one injury according to the California Division of Workers' Compensation. Invest at least $40,000.00 to start your ergonomics process if you have a history of one or more RMI claims, or MSDs associated with onsite and remote seated work. You can save up to $10.00 for every dollar invested! Starting with $40,000.00, you can potentially save up to $400,000.00 within your first two years through prevention and claim avoidance!


So, there you have it! Worksite International’s 2022 pandemic predictions for workplace ergonomics based on what the experts say.

What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below.

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