The coffee table, the kitchen counter, the spare den. And every other possible nook.
What were once designated home furnishings, have now been converted into the home office. Canadians have become a true mobile workforce. We’ve seen every possible combination and while some are to model after, others could definitely use some help (ironing board desk-ers, we are looking at you!). And to no fault of our own, the responsibility of designing and setting up a proper workspace has traditionally fallen on the employer. But since the pandemic, this burden has shifted to the employee.
Some employers have eased this transition by offering to pay a portion of the costs to set up a home office - usually for a desk, chair or second monitor. We have seen offerings of anywhere from $300 to $1,500 per employee. Not bad. However having all the Amazon boxes appear at your front door is half the battle. Putting it all together in the proper way is really where the magic happens. It’s also where the word ergonomics gets thrown in.
Ergonomics is the science of fitting a workplace to a user’s needs. It aims to increase efficiency, productivity and prevent discomfort or injury (source: Humanscale). We are all guilty of it - slouching in our chair, perking our shoulders to our ears and everything else that’s guaranteed to hurt us down the line, if not already.
To our avail, there’s a solution. It’s called getting an ergonomic assessment. Basically, a physiotherapist or occupational therapist visits your home and ensures your workstation is designed and set-up as ergonomically as possible. This can include creating a proper seating position, adjusting the placement of your monitor and mouse/keyboard and outlining a proper body posture. In addition, exercises and stretch routines are given to help give your body a proper break.
Many Extended Health Care plans have coverage for these ergonomic assessments and the employee can utilize this to cover some or all of the costs depending on their coverage. We encourage those who are interested to contact their insurer and check to see if they have this benefit. Hopefully this will make the ironing board workstations a little less stressful on your body!