June 2020: Telecommuting, EHS Strategies For The New Normal

While employers work through Workplace Readiness projects to prepare redesigned new “Six Foot Offices”, all are simultaneously planning massive projects of mitigating well known serious risk exposures facing their telecommuters. 

At the same time, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter are symbolic of the global trend of permanent hybrid Workscapes, where some knowledge worker employees will return to work at the office and the vast majority will telecommute through 2020 and most likely beyond. 

So how can employers effectively and inexpensively mitigate significant risks facing their telecommuting employees?

Before sharing some highly actionable information, all of us wish for you and your colleagues and loved ones to be safe during this COVID-19 pandemic. Like you, we’re telecommuting, social distancing, wearing our masks, we’re here for you and hope that we can assist you however you need at this important and transformational time. Let us know whatever your new requirements are and we’ll help you meet them, together.

A recent May 22nd article in Business Insider “Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft will let employees work from home through 2020 or longer.”, reports regarding Twitter “…in the first week of May, the company went so far as to tell employees that they can keep working from home permanently if they want to.

Telecommuting Safety & Productivity Challenges

We’re hearing consistently from clients about how they’re utilizing ErgoSuite as a plug-in-play sustainable solution to address priority focus areas for telecommuters including:

Effective Strategies Clients Are Using Today

We’ve spoken with many clients recently who have called in and are sharing how they’re leveraging their ErgoSuite platforms to extend their Office Ergonomics safety net at their facilities to their employees newly telecommuting from home.

At the high level view, clients are leveraging ErgoSuite as their front-line surface area for employees and centralized EH&S management toolset for identifying status and trends and managing outlying situations:

Some of the specific ways clients are leveraging ErgoSuite’s tools across their telecommuting workforce include:

ErgoTutor Office Ergonomics Training: Home Office Workstations

Employees are directed to complete the action-based course and “tune up” their home office workstations in addition to learning the best practices they should follow to share in the responsibility for healthy computing while working on their computers at home.

Employees are also directed to print and complete the Home Office Setup/Tune up Checklist, provided within the course.

A number of clients have customized the course and checklist to contain information unique for their companies.

Most employees are taking the course from within ErgoSuite and others are taking it directly through their company’s Learning Management System (LMS).

Ergo Self-Assessments

Clients are heavily using this web-based tool with ErgoSuite’s built-in self-assessments, while many others have created their own specialized self-assessments in ErgoSuite to gather a consistent baseline of ergonomic information about their employee populations working from home offices.

The majority of clients are leveraging the automatic scoring and ranking of self-assessment responses to identify outlying situations which can be resolved through a phone call, email or other contact.

Some clients have taken the Home Office Setup/Tune up Checklist from ErgoTutor and created custom self-assessments with the checklist items so they can get a confirmation that employees have followed the checklist fully.

Some clients are customizing the checklist of recommendations contained in the personalized reports employees can receive after submitting their responses.

Desktop Behavioral Coaching Tools

ErgoSuite’s coaching tools are being heavily promoted to help employees learn to automatically work with the desired behaviors of using neutral postures, taking micro-breaks while working and moving about periodically during their day to stretch and break up static postures.

Some clients are adding new pandemic-relevant messaging directly into ErgoSuite’s Coaching Cues for reminders on regularly washing hands, keeping their keyboards, pointing devices and microphones clean and disinfected plus other currently relevant guidelines applying to people working from home offices.

Some clients have added similar messaging within the ErgoTips employees can see each day.

Some clients have modified their ErgoSuite Desktop Icon Menus adding company-specific links to internal COVID-19 resources while others have done similarly with their web-based ErgoSuite Personal Console Menu.

Some clients have organized virtual group stretching meets where employees gather on web conferences at certain times during the day and do their favorite ErgoSuite guided stretches together.

Ergo Assistance Requests & Discomfort Notes

Some clients have organized and promote use of ErgoSuite’s Ergo Assistance Requests for orderly consistent processing of home office ergonomics needs of employees.

Some clients have designated specific people as Responders and Overseers based on the employee’s department, location or other criteria so the requests are routed correctly and efficiently.

SmartRULA Postural Self-Assessments

A number of clients are requiring employees to perform at least one SmartRULA Postural Self-Assessment while at their home office workstation to get a baseline of each employee’s quantified posture as well as provide a personalized report of recommendations to help the employee improve their posture where needed.

Some employees are performing their postural self-assessments directly within ErgoSuite’s point-of-use behavioral coaching toolset and others are performing it from their web-based ErgoSuite Personal Console.

Some of the same clients are also requiring employees to take the General Assessment Survey as another step combined with performing their postural self-assessment which, together, provides a good basic picture of the employee’s general circumstances while at their home office workstation

ES Pro Workstation Assessments

Most clients, if not all, are heavily leveraging ErgoTutor and other ErgoSuite tools as their front-line surface area for employees using computers.

For the fractional percentage of situations which cannot be directly resolved by the employee and which require professional assistance, clients are conducting remote professional assessments as interventions as needed before small problems become big issues.

Administration and Reporting

Some clients have recently reassessed and updated their requirements for documenting and tracking ergonomic data naturally accumulating through ErgoSuite use across their organization.

Clients have expanded their automated reporting and analyses to effect a radar-like function for better understanding telecommuter organizational status and emerging trends relating to their telecommuters.

Other Tools and Current Uses

There’s much more beyond the above examples which clients are leveraging in the platform right now at this time, however, adding the entire list would greatly increase this article so we’ll save it for another time.

Clients’ Structured Ergonomics Programs For Telecommuters Include:

We Are Here For You

We want to help. We hope that we can assist you however you need at this important and transformational time. As clients, there’s no additional cost to you for our time and assistance. Let us know whatever your new requirements are and we’ll meet them together, side by side, as always.

We wish you to be safe and well.

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