Many Colorado State University employees have been working remotely for the last several months and hopefully by now, many of you have been able to arrange your workstation and work environment appropriately. However , if you need assistance, keep in mind that the ergonomics team is here to help and can provide remote/virtual ergonomic evaluations of your workstation and environment, without ever having to set foot in your home or office. If you are working on campus in your CSU office, either an in-person or remote ergonomic evaluation can be provided. (Proper safety precautions will be taken when an ergonomics specialist visits your office). See the ergonomics website for details
Working from home ergonomics training is now available online and can be completed on-demand by faculty, staff or students. Although this training is more specific to employees who are telecommuting, this can be completed by anyone, regardless of their work location. There are additional training sessions available on office ergonomics and workstation setup on the ergonomics website, which can be completed along with or separate from the working from home ergonomics training session. If you work both at CSU and at home, it may be useful to complete both sessions.
Although on the ergonomics website you will find quick tips for setting up a temporary or short-term workstation (such as a kitchen table), using a workstation such as this is not a long-term solution. The risk for pain and discomfort are increased and common. According to the interim report from the Institute of Employment Studies which surveyed UK employees working from home for extended periods:
• There has been a significant increase in musculoskeletal complaints.
• More than half of the survey respondents reported new aches and pains, especially in the neck (58%), shoulder (56%) and back (55%), compared to their normal physical condition.
• Other contributing factors to note include change in diet, exercise, mental health/ worry, and poor sleep will also contribute to musculoskeletal health.
In a webinar provided by the CSU ergonomics program several weeks ago, 83% of attendees reported pain and discomfort while working at home.
Unfortunately, pain and discomfort are not unusual. Nearly 80% of employees requesting an ergonomic evaluation reported pain and discomfort while working on the computer, even prior to the pandemic. Setting up the workstation correctly, wherever that might be, is important.
If working from home is becoming a long-term work situation, consider making changes that will benefit you in the long-term. These changes include adding an ergonomic chair, height adjustable table, standard monitor(s), external keyboards and mice, etc. See the ergonomics website for equipment recommendations or schedule an ergonomic evaluation to receive specific recommendations on equipment from a specialist.
Keep in mind that the CSU ergonomics program maintains an Ergonomics Showroom/Ergolab which allows employees to view and try equipment. Along with the showroom, equipment can be loaned to employees so that effectiveness can be determined. Employees may borrow equipment and use it anywhere they may work, whether on the CSU campus or in their home office. Appointments to the ergonomics showroom are by appointment only. (Proper safety precautions will be taken when an employee’s visits the ergonomics showroom).
Matching funds program
The ergonomics program also offers a matching funds or cost-sharing program which offers potential funding of up to $500 per employee in matching funds (50% of total equipment cost) to modify existing office computer workstations. Ergonomics related equipment and furniture can be purchased for the home office and the matching funds program utilized; however, whether equipment and furniture is purchased for the home office depends on the department and their internal procedures. Check with your department to determine feasibility.
See the matching funds website for additional details, the matching funds procedure and access to the electronic application.
Please contact the ergonomics office at (970) 491-2724 with questions.