October 2018 Newsletter:

The Office Job Outside of the Office

Technology is a powerful thing. From just about anywhere, we can open our laptops, connect to the internet, and get to work. Employees may be required to work from their vehicle, a hotel room, a meeting room, or their home and these varied environments make ergonomic controls challenging. But it’s not a lost cause. Read down to discover potential solutions to some of the most common ‘non-standard’ work environments.

Car photo created by pressfoto

I. Vehicle

Laptop use in vehicles is common in some professions (police officers, paramedics, external sales, consultants, etc.). Vehicles are not built to hold computers but, fortunately, considerations surrounding the position and flexibility of the laptop can help to minimize the ergonomic hazards.

For example, adjustable laptop arms could be installed to allow the user to position the laptop as close as possible to their seated position to minimize reach requirements during use, providing the user with added flexibility in their “workstation”. Alternatively, when parked, removing the laptop and positioning it directly in front of the body minimizes twisting and reaching.

II. Hotel room

Hotel room desks/workstations have limited adjustability which limits the ‘fit’ of the workstation for each user. To the point that employees are able, they should adjust the seat height to align their elbows at desk height (or as close as possible) and find something to place under their feet for leg support.

If work requires regular travel and work in a hotel, it’s a good idea to invest in a laptop riser, keyboard and mouse to ensure the best ergonomic posture can be achieved regardless of the work location.

III. Conference/meeting room

Similar to a hotel room, conference and meeting room furniture is typically limited in adjustability. Encourage your staff to make any chair adjustments that are possible to fully support their body and consider the accessories mentioned above for improved work posture.

IV. Home ‘office’

Working from home is still growing in popularity but what an employee’s work environment looks like at home could be very different than the ergonomic ‘ideal’. The key feature for any seated workstation is a fully adjustable chair and, at minimum, the external accessories listed above (i.e. keyboard, mouse, laptop riser) as these will significantly increase the likelihood of achieving the optimal working posture while on the computer.

Working outside of the normal or typical work environment can be ergonomically difficult but with some carefully selected accessories and mindfulness on body positioning, ergonomic principles and practices can be applied in almost any computer work environment.

Do you have a unique office environment that wasn't covered in this article and want some advice from our team? Click here to view our Office Ergonomics page and contact us for help.

Not on our e-mail list? Click here to subscribe to receive future newsletters directly to your inbox.

© Copyright 2020 - PROergonomics