Working from home can have a range of benefits, such as reducing commuting time and promoting a healthy work-life balance.
However, experts urge those who are working from home to work in a safe environment to prevent injury and loss of work hours, which could have a great impact on the individual and the economy.
To avoid these issues, applying office ergonomics is key. Jim Kelly, Director of Safe Work, New South Wales - Health and Return to Work explains why it is important to work in a safe home environment.
“Regardless of whether you work for yourself or an employer, nobody wants to be injured from work. Wherever you are working, safety starts with you.
“Not being in a safe work environment costs individuals and the workplace significantly, regardless of where you are,” Mr Kelly said.
Before employees start working from home, they should consider surrounding hazards and remove them.
“Firstly, it's key to have a safe and dedicated workspace suitable for the tasks you are undertaking. Consider all hazards that are around your home such as children’s toys and ensure they are not in your way,” Mr Kelly said.
The Safe Work director said, in terms of ergonomics, the same guidelines at the office apply for the home.
“You need a safe ergonomic chair and should plug your laptop into a desktop monitor to ensure your posture is correct. We encourage people to regularly change their posture from standing to sitting, and avoid repetition which can lead to musculoskeletal injuries, such as back or forearm pain. Another thing to consider is adequate lighting and ventilation.
“It is essential that workers have access to suitable and safe amenities, such as the kitchen and bathroom. It's obviously not a good idea to work from home while renovations are occurring in these areas,” Mr Kelly said.
Mr Kelly suggests that employees stay in touch with work colleagues for their psychological wellbeing “to ensure you have the support you might need”.
He also said employers are responsible for taking the necessary steps to ensure their workers safety, even if they work from home.