Man experiencing back pain while working at home

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the workplace overnight. As each wave emerged, workers understood that remote work was here to stay.

Working remotely without a proper ergonomic workspace, including a desk, adjustable office chair, and peripheral computer equipment, results in awkward static postures and can lead to an increase in musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders. Per the 2021 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey, 55% of plan sponsors said they anticipate different health and wellness challenges due to more employees working from home, including more musculoskeletal issues from poor ergonomics (51%)”[1]

After two years of working from home, we may have only started to witness the tip of the iceberg of post-pandemic mental and physical health repercussions. In a recent National Work from Home survey of Canadian workers by Conestoga College’s Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness, and Performance[2], the data revealed:

  • 60% of respondents indicated that they have a separate space in their home to work.
  • During work hours, individuals reported that they spend an average of 83% of their time sitting.
  • 30% of respondents do not use an adjustable chair while working.
  • 35% of people work solely with laptops with no secondary screens, a mouse, or a keyboard.
  • 25% of individuals considered themselves physically unhealthy, rating their health as poor or fair.
  • Nearly 70% of respondents reported experiencing pain or discomfort at the end of their workday.

Assisting employees with MSK issues or disorders to remain at work without compromising safety should be part of any employer’s holistic at-work accommodation program. Establishing and embedding a comprehensive MSK workplace strategy is increasingly important in a remote or hybrid model. It can prevent and mitigate lost time and ensure that a company’s most important asset–its employees–are healthy and productive.

Interested in learning more? Check out our blog “Has COVID-19 Changed Ergonomic Accommodations in the Workplace?”.

Want more information on improving your organization’s approach to at-work accommodations? Contact ReedGroup at


Information provided on this blog is intended for general educational use. It is not intended to provide legal advice. ReedGroup does not provide legal services. Consult an attorney for legal advice on this or any other topic.


[1] 2021 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey

[2] Canadian Institute for Safety Wellness, and Performance: National Work from Home Survey