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Workplace safety tips for remote workers

Search Remotely Remote Workplace Safety Tips

Workplace safety is important; and no less for remote workers. The Center for Disease Control estimates that slipping and falling represents the most typical accident that occurs when employees report to work in a traditional office setting. But what if you work from home in a familiar environment? The place, literally where you sleep, eat and entertain? Maybe, working from home may cause more OSHA related accidents than before.  Let’s read along to find out.

If  you think that because you are working from home in a familiar environment, you no longer need to be cautious when working from home, you may be mistaken. In fact, the Council for Disability Awareness estimated that work related accidents in the home have dramatically increased!  Last year, the data show that almost thirty percent of all US households reported some type of home injury. This is double the rate of 2017 (14.3%).

Remote work accidents similar to in office accidents

The Council for Disability Awareness cited a Columbia University study appearing in the Injury Epidemiology (Columbia University), that people living in urban areas earning upwards of $100,000 annual with children in the home are most likely to report accidents. And like the injuries occurring in a traditional work setting (office), most of the accidents were due to falls (32%) and the other were related to being cut by something with sharp edges (11%).

Whereas a decade ago, remote work was an exception, nowadays, more companies are adopting the work-from-home approach. This approach brings many benefits, such as increased productivity of employees, business cost savings, and hiring talent from across the country. According to Forbes, the remote work trend will only grow. This means that when a slip and/or a fall is likely to happen, rather than happen in the office; it now happens in the home. Why is this so?

Because more and more workers are working at home. Research by the American Opportunity Survey showed that more than half of adults in the USA do some form of remote work as of 2022. They also found that when people have the chance to work flexibly, 87% of them take it. Remote work provides employees with more flexibility and less commuting time.

Remote work multi-tasking and workspace multi-functioning

As with most things, remote work also has its challenges. Remote workers tend to overwork more than in-office employees. Because of this, remote workers experience more mental and emotional health issues. Workers working from home or working from anywhere also tend to multi-task, particularly during virtual meetings says a MS Office study.

And, speaking of multi-tasking; the typical home office is a setting generally a place of multi-functioning. Its where much takes place also.  The home office isn’t just to provide a dedicated workspace. The  guest bedroom often doubles as a the home office according to apartment therapy.  This data supports the notion that only 33% of people have a dedicated room for working from home, according to the 2021 Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine report, and half of those people share that space with another person all day.

Let’s look at how remote workers can optimize their work environment to support their productivity and well-being.

Top 3 work-from-home injuries

Even though work related accidents occur in an in office setting and can also happen while working from home, remote workers can reduce the likelihood of an accident occurring. How? Unsuitable work setups cause most work-from-home injuries. Instead of having a dedicated workspace, remote workers often use their beds or couch from where to carrying out their work assignments. The typical desk height is about 27in to 30in  or 70cm to 80cm. The standard bed is about 25 in.  The average couch height is much lower, about 15in to 20in.

The three most occurring work-from-home injuries are the following and may be directly related to the height of the place in which the remote worker is sitting when he / she is performing work related tasks:

  • Back injuries
  • Repetitive strain injuries (e.g., in hands and wrists)
  • Shoulder injuries

In addition, remote workers also experience stress and pressure caused by the expectation to be available outside their regular working hours.

Design your workspace

Taking the various  workplace sittings (couch, guest bed) heights into account, there are various options when designing your remote workspace that may help you lower the risk of back pain, repetitive strain injuries (like tunnel corporal syndrome), neck and shoulder injuries. You can create your own office or use a shared space, such as your living room, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

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Working from home

If you opt for a working space in your home, you have more control over the working conditions, such as the temperature and lighting.

If you’re using a shared space within your home, ensure that you have a good internet connection or an internet connection just for you. Make arrangements with those in your house to minimize distractions caused by people walking around, listening to music, or watching TV.

You can also work from your bedroom. The benefit of using your bedroom over a shared space is that you’ll have more privacy. However, be careful when sharing your office and sleeping space. It has been proven that this can lead to sleeping problems. It’s essential to set clear boundaries. Don’t work from your bed, and place your desk as far from the bed as possible. Also, make sure your desk doesn’t face your bed.

If you have an extra room in the house that you can turn into an office, that would be ideal. You’ll have a dedicated space that you can design to minimize distractions and work productively.

Working in a shared space

Hybrid model

There is also the hybrid office. The hybrid model allows employees to work from home or the office. Or employers assign the number of days employees can work from home and which days they have to be present in the office.

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Even within the hybrid model, workers must set up their home office. Companies also use a WFH policy to set expectations and responsibilities that come with hybrid work.

The hybrid model has become attractive to various companies because it:

  • Allows for cost savings
  • Increases satisfaction and productivity of employees
  • Offers flexibility for employees

However, the hybrid model also has its disadvantages:

  • Managing teams is difficult
  • Lack of routine for employees
  • IT security issues, especially for employees that work with sensitive information

Co-working spaces

If you’re looking for a workspace outside of your home or if you want to change your working environment, co-working spaces are perfect. The benefit of a co-working space is the ability to socialize and network with others from your industry. Since these spaces are designed for freelancers and employees, they already have the necessary workstation.

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However, co-working spaces might lack privacy. Some places might be crowded and noisy, making it difficult to concentrate on your work. Most co-working spaces also require a membership. The costs of these memberships can be high depending on the city and the facility. Monthly membership prices in the USA range from $260 to $430.

There are a few other considerations when it comes to co-working spaces:

  • Make sure the coworking space is not too far from your home.
  • Rent terms. Always good to know about their terms and conditions.
  • Opening hours. Rent somewhere that matches your working hours. Are you someone that often needs to stay late to finish projects? Then a coworking space that closes early won’t be a good option.
  • Benefits and extras. Some places provide coffee, printing services, etc. Decide if that’s important to you.

Based on the above-mentioned, you can decide for yourself if a co-working space will benefit you or not. The most important is to have a place where you can be productive.

Workspace checklist

Home office setup

When designing your workspace, you will need essential furniture and equipment. Here is a list of the basic things you will need:

  • Desks
  • Chairs
  • Cabinets
  • Laptop
  • Headset
  • Office Supplies

Internet connection

A good internet connection is a necessity for remote workers. Each company might have its internet speed requirements, but a good internet speed ranges from 100 to 200+ Mbps, please see our popular article here  (suggested work from home internet speeds). You will need good internet for your video calls, browning, and regular work tasks that involve the internet.

Moreover, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends a minimum of 5-25 Mbps for telecommuting jobs.


Proper lighting is essential to reduce eye strain and increase your overall energy. Lighting is especially important since you spend a lot of time staring at your computer.

Natural vs. artificial lighting

Place your desk somewhere with natural lighting. This helps to keep yourself calm and focused and reduces eye strain. Natural lighting also helps save on your utility bills. You can combine natural light with artificial light. When it comes to artificial lighting, choose lighting that keeps your workstation illuminated but try to prevent working under direct lights. Another tip is to use daylight LED bulbs; these lights provide maximum brightness for your workspace.

Proper lighting means that you should also consider the source of light. Your light source should never be behind you, as it will create a glare on your screen. Create enough light with little to no shadows cast by any light fixtures. You can use an adjustable desk lamp to produce a defined light source and support your tasks.

Home office organization hacks


Keep your office clean and organized. Working in chaos can result in work problems such as losing documents, as well as reducing your productivity.

There are various tools and furniture that you can use to keep your workspace well organized. Here are some tips:

  • Invest in folders for your work documents
  • Add desk storage for your office supplies
  • Use binder clips and holders to order your power cords

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Add colors

Choosing the right colors for your office can animate your space. Choosing the right color can reduce stress levels and increase concentration. Before you decide on the colors of your home office, study the psychology of each color.

Get plants

To brighten up your office, add a couple of plants. They have many benefits that will help you in your productivity. Plants tend to reduce stress and boost your overall mood.

According to the University of Exeter research,” green” offices with plants make employees happier and more productive than offices without greenery.

Safety considerations

Potential risks in the home workspace

Working from home brings other risks associated with electrical installation. That’s why a good home office setup includes ensuring that your electrical system is up to date and works appropriately. A home inspector can help check your electrical system to see if they are in good condition. If a home inspector detects any issues in your electrical system, hire an electrical contractor to fix the problem as soon as possible.

Keep essential safety tools such as first-aid kits and fire extinguishers in your office for emergencies and install smoke alarms.

Other safety tips

Remote workers should protect themselves against cyber risks. Home professionals should be aware of IT security basics: two-factor authentication, password encryption, and anti-virus programs. Always follow the rules set by your IT team. Don’t open any links or attachments when receiving an email from an unknown person.

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Work-life balance tips

While working from home has its benefits, remote workers often experience stress and anxiety because of the lack of socialization and the ineffectiveness of their workspace.

Shower and dress

Although it’s tempting to work in your pajamas or sweatpants, it’s good to dress well and pay attention to your appearance. You will feel better about yourself, and you will also look more professional during your meetings.

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Use specific tactics

Here are some tips to prevent burnout and maintain your productivity.

Do your work in batches and take frequent breaks. Stay hydrated, and don’t forget to stretch so your body doesn’t feel stiff by the end of the working day. Pacing yourself is a key to accomplishing your goals and staying on task when you work at home.

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Avoid eating lunch at your desk


Eating at your desk is not uncommon for remote workers. It can be very tempting when you have many deadlines and projects. But there are many reasons why you shouldn’t do it.

According to the Washington Post, eating lunch at your desk means you stay in your seat longer and move less, making you less physically active and more prone to getting sick.

Go for a walk

Going for a walk as a break helps you stay productive and creative. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get some exercise done. Sitting for long periods causes most of the work-from-home injuries previously mentioned. Walking provides more benefits, such as:

  • Better sleep
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Energy


One reason remote workers often feel stressed is due to the isolation of working from home. Try to meet up with friends and colleagues outside of work. Work 1-2 days in a co-working space to surround yourself with other people.

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Follow the 20-20-20 rule

The last tip we will give is the 20-20-20 rule. This rule will help you avoid eye strain. Try to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Set your timer for every 20 minutes, and look away from your computer screen when it goes off. Focus on an object at least 20 feet away and do it for 20 seconds.

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There are both advantages and disadvantages to remote working. The flexibility and reduced commuting time allow for a better work-life balance. However, this can quickly become imbalanced if remote workers don’t focus on their well-being.

Having a good work set-up, taking breaks, and socializing outside of work are some ways to prevent burnout.

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