Updated: Jun 27
Whether you were at home using the dining table as a makeshift office desk, or you were working longer hours in a busy supermarket, working conditions for most during the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically shifted from the status quo to save lives.
And at EnableWorks, it was no different.
Like most businesses during New Zealand’s alert level 4 lockdown, the skilled occupational therapists and physiotherapists at EnableWorks had to think on their feet about how to deliver services from a distance.
Within days of the pending lockdown, they quickly developed new tools to benefit the influx of people who abruptly needed to work from home, unprepared – for the very first time. “We provided a handout to all our customers knowing their staff would have to improvise and adapt their space while working from home because there wasn’t time to set up everyone with suitable equipment,” said Helen Giddens, EnableWorks managing director.
EnableWorks also developed a remote ergonomic assessment package using Telehealth to address issues that arose from working at home. This was different from their usual face-to-face contact and was done with the assistance of Zoom meetings, videos or photos.”
Working at home, revealed a unique set of issues largely from people using laptops in make-shift spaces for long periods. The culmination of sustained awkward postures looking down into a low screen, constrained keying and mousing capability from using smaller keyboards combined with undesirable positioning lead to muscle fatigue, pain and discomfort.
Giddens said “more businesses have reached out in light of the pandemic requesting home-based ergonomic assessments to ensure their staff who continue to work from home are set up correctly, and are able to work efficiently in their own environment”.
EnableWorks therapists also used Telehealth very effectively in lieu of face to face intervention to address issues affecting other workers under duress during lockdown.
“Pain at work impacts on productivity and a person’s wellbeing,” said Giddens.
“Regardless of whether it’s an office space or an industry-based setting, if pain at work is not addressed, it will eventually lead to injury and impact on home life as well as work output.”
EnableWorks therapists are highly skilled at identifying poor ergonomics and aspects of work practice that puts people at risk.
Organising an EnableWorks ergonomic assessment for your staff no matter where you are will not only prevent injuries such as carpal tunnel or tennis elbow, but solutions will be proffered and coaching provided to help modify work practice and implement self-management strategies to improve well-being and productivity.