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The return of office-working is around the corner

Home office work as we have known it for a year and a half now will no longer be the rule, the return to the office is being prepared. Sanitary measures are being relaxed and we will all gradually return to our pre-pandemic workspaces. If this will be a relief for some, it will be bad news for others, not in a hurry to commute back to the office. It is foreseeable that our usual way of working will change to a "hybrid work", i.e. a new way of working that allows us to define, in agreement with our management and depending on our activities, the proportion of time during which we will work from the office and remotely.

As workspaces have been neglected for some time, office managers have taken advantage of the situation to rethink the functionality of their office space and shape new work environments that support this new, more dynamic and flexible working style.
The post-pandemic office will be dedicated to sharing and innovating. Employees will there benefit from areas of which layout will offer optimal conditions for productivity, connectivity and focus - which don’t exist with home office - and will gather in less formal though more collaborative settings, which encourage exchanges, boost creativity, motivation and hence their overall productivity.

The flex-office concept aims at wisely combining the various facilities and necessary equipment to best support the functioning of this new way of working. But whoever says "flex-office" must realize that the notion of "owning" a personal workspace as we knew it before the pandemic is no longer relevant. This new work organization requires employees to move around the company and choose the location and equipment that are best suited to the execution of their various tasks: they become "nomads". The individual workstation with its specific and personalized settings definitely belongs to the past.

man plan back to the office

It is now time to remind you of some effective ergonomic practices so that you can safely reintegrate these new workspaces and prevent screen-work associated health risks.

10 steps to optimize your workstation settings

  1. 1) Before you sit and start working, find out how your seat and work surface may be adjusted. Sit down and set the seat height so that your knees form at least a 90 degrees’ angle while making sure your feet have good support on the floor.
  2. 2) With relaxed shoulders, bend your arms to a 90° angle, which is your ideal working height. In this position, your forearms are supported by the armrests of your chair or the work surface. If your arms are not supported, your neck and shoulders may feel the strain by the end of the day.
  3. 3) Watch your head position, try to keep the weight of your head directly over your spine. Don’t lean forward, keep your back straight and adjust the lumbar support on the backrest to the correct height.
  4. 4) Don’t slouch in your seat! Staying in a "round back" position for long periods of time puts increased pressure on the discs and vertebrae in your spine. Use the full depth of the seat to avoid slippage and make sure that the nose of the seat does not compress the back of your knees. Office chairs often display seat depth adjustment.
  5. 5) The monitor is placed directly in front of you, the top of the screen no higher than eye level. If you are using 2 monitors, they are placed against each other in the center of your field of vision so that you do not have to repeatedly move your head back and forth.
  6. 6) Keyboard and mouse should be close enough to the edge of the work surface to avoid excessive strain on your arms and shoulders.
  7. 7) If you’re often on the phone, don’t wedge the handset between your neck and ear; prefer the use of a headset.
  8. 8) Check that your work environment is free of glare, that your monitor does not produce annoying reflections and that it is not placed in front of a window or an excessively bright background.
  9. 9) Avoid eye strain by making sure your monitor is not too close. It should be at least an arm’s length away. The larger the screen, the greater the distance.
  10. 10) You can rest your eyes periodically by taking a break: look at objects at a distance, look into the void, draw "8s" with your eyes while keeping them closed.