Publication type: Conference other
Type of review: Not specified
Title: Does the home office workstation meet recommended guidelines in a sample of Swiss office workers?
Authors: Aegerter, Andrea
Johnston, Venerina
Melloh, Markus
Elfering, Achim
et. al: No
Conference details: 7. Internationale Konferenz «Arbeit und Gesundheit», online, 11. Februar 2022
Issue Date: 11-Feb-2022
Language: English
Subject (DDC): 331: Labor economics
613: Personal health
Abstract: Background: The ergonomics of a workstation contributes to the development of musculoskeletal pain by placing certain body parts in awkward or static postures. Subsequently, most health and safety regulators provide recommendations on the optimal set-up of the office workstation to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal problems. However, during the COVID-19 crisis many employees were forced to work from home requiring them to quickly establish a home ‘office’. There is evidence that employees working from home have a poor ergonomic set up of their workstation with 43% having less than optimal seating position, and 50% inappropriate monitor position. Aim: This study aimed to determine whether the workstation set up of a sample of Swiss office workers required to work from home met the local recommended guidelines. Methods: Participants were office workers aged 18 – 65 years enrolled in a 12-week stepped wedge cluster-randomized controlled trial that tested the impact of a multi-component intervention to reduce the economic and individual burden of neck pain. Volunteers working more than 25 hours per week and without serious health conditions were recruited from two Swiss organisations. A 30-minute assessment of the workstation was conducted virtually by an experienced health practitioner using a validated checklist adapted to meet the Swiss guidelines. This 42-item checklist included questions to determine the suitability of workstation items including the desk (e.g., adjustability, location of desk top items), chair (e.g., availability and adjustability of arm rests and back support), monitor (e.g., height, distance), keyboard (e.g., availability of wrist support, position), mouse (e.g., size, position relative to keyboard and arm), telephone (e.g., availability of headset), physical environment (e.g., lighting, thermal comfort). Descriptive statistics was used to summarize the data. Results: 26 of 67 office workers (mean age 39.5 years, SD 8.5 years; 77 % female) agreed to a virtual assessment of their home office. Of the 42 items, only 6 items did not meet the criteria for an optimal workstation as recommended by the Swiss health and safety regulator. A majority of office workers did not have a chair that permitted multiple adjustments (34.6 % Yes vs 53.8 % No), did not have a back rest with appropriate lumbar support (19.2 % Yes vs 61.5 % No) or have an adjustable back rest (26.9 % Yes vs 57.7 % No). With regards to the monitor, the majority of office workers did not have the top of the screen level with their eyes (7.7 % Yes vs 88.5 % No), or the laptop screen at eye level (26.9 % Yes vs 46.2 % No). Finally, the majority of participants did not have a height adjustable desk at home (42.3 % Yes vs 57.7 % No). All items in the physical environment, mouse, keyboard, and telephone met recommended guidelines. Conclusions: The majority of home office workstations in this study met the local recommended guidelines for optimal set up. The greatest discrepancy between actual home office and optimal set up was appropriate support for the back and monitor height. Strategies to support workers achieve optimal workstation set are needed.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: School of Health Sciences
Organisational Unit: Institute of Public Health (IPH)
Published as part of the ZHAW project: Prävention und Intervention von Nackenschmerzen bei Büroangestellten in der Schweiz (NEXpro)
Appears in collections:Publikationen Gesundheit

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