As organisations work through the challenges of designing the post Covid-19 workplace, we’re seeing an uptick in demand for Wellnomics Stretch Break software (historically sold worldwide as WorkPace®).
The huge growth in working from home presents corporate health and safety managers with a new challenge – how to protect staff well-being in a highly variable environment they have little control over, people’s private homes. The traditional approach of providing approved ergonomic workstations and equipment plus onsite assessments and assistance simply may not be a practical option in the short term.
With home working shifting from a temporary solution to the ‘new normal’ this issue is becoming urgent. The health risks associated with computer use have increased considerably in this new normal. Working from home has two major negative impacts on worker health that concern health and safety managers.
The first is the common lack of a suitable workstation and appropriate equipment at home to ensure good working posture and avoid ergonomic risks. There’s also no expert present to help the worker set up their workstation correctly and take even minimum steps (a few books under their screen) to avoid the postural risk factors that lead to musculoskeletal injuries.
The second impact is a dramatic drop in normal daily activity and a corresponding jump in sedentary screen time. With people no longer commuting to the office, moving between meetings, going out to cafes or participating in normal sports or recreational activities the health risks related to sedentary behavior have just jumped upwards significantly.
The science is already clear on this point. Long periods of sedentary behavior involved with long hours at a computer, combined with too few breaks and too little physical activity raises risks for a whole range of short and long term health issues.
Stretch break software is one way to help compensate. It effectively puts a ‘personal health coach’ on every laptop or desktop that can help staff moderate their sedentary behavior and ensure they keep moving throughout the day.
The key strength of technology, like the Wellnomics Stretch Break solution, in the Covid-19 era is that it allows health and safety managers to do their important work protecting staff remotely and safely. They can look after hundreds of staff across their organization without having to visit them in person. The software reports the necessary information to them automatically on staff risks and exposure.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the global interest in the Wellnomics stretch break solution” says Wayne Owens, Principal Consultant at Wellnomics, ‘It makes sense – the last thing we want is a global wave of musculoskeletal injuries following this period of forced home working”.
All signs point towards home working becoming a permanently bigger part of the working landscape. Even after all Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, the ability to work from home has now been taken seriously and many organizations want to continue it to some degree. EHS managers will have to adapt to this new landscape and an obvious solution is increased use of the remote employee health management and monitoring that solutions like stretch-break software can provide.
We’re excited to be able to assist organizations in dealing effectively with these changes whilst allowing EHS managers to continue to provide effective guidance and oversight for their organization in a remote working world.