how-to Mar 19, 2020

Ergonomics is a profession not for the faint of heart. 

We find clients. We travel to consults. We perform ergonomics assessments, consultations, or trainings. We identify the risks, determine a solution, and a course of action all within just a short time window.

On top of all this, RIGHT NOW there's a significant health and safety concern that is causing the majority of workplaces to be closed. 

THIS WILL CHANGE HOW ERGONOMISTS APPROACH THEIR BUSINESS. 

I've mentioned before that the Ergonomics profession is a value-added service to add to your career (oh heck, you can work exclusively in it like I do). It especially is when there's a shift in the employment market as it has built-in agility for us to offer what the market needs

Whether you work in a clinic, are a PT or OT adding another revenue source especially in times like this, this is always a good thing. Having more services to pull from and to offer your clients will give you a (NEEDED!) source of income and cash-flow. 

Even if you are already doing in-person ergonomic assessments that income stream may be quickly drying up because of all the shutdowns and working exclusively from home (and not from the office). 

Here's the thing: There still is opportunity for ergonomics. Work is still being done. We just have to find a way to share our message to our clients about why making sure staff are set-up ergonomically correctly- no matter where they're working is so important. There will always be so many benefits in doing so, including limiting expensive fees/costs (WCB), improving long-term health, and avoiding plummeting employee retention/morale rates. 

Remote Ergonomics Assessments

My desire is to give you the play-by-play about Remote Ergonomic Assessments so you can make an informed decision if these are right for you. 

If you are interested in adding Remote Ergonomic Assessments to your service offerings, I want to encourage you to TAKE ACTION (today!). This may include putting together exactly what you will be offering or putting together a list of prospects who would truly benefit from this. 

The Details 

There's been many different ways that remote consulting has been referred to over the years- telehealth or telerehabilitation are some of the more popular ways. 

This research found that telehealth to be one key component of successful healthcare reform; identified as a cost-saving method to reduce inequities in access, health system inefficiencies, and uneven quality of care. 

In times like this it eliminates the need for you to see a client. Meaning, you can still offer proactive and reactive solutions because, let's face it, discomfort and injury is NOT going to stop happening just because people are working from home. 

In fact, it's probably that the opposite is true. That when staff are working from environments that they'd usually not work from while juggling their kids and their productivity there's likely a much higher chance of developing discomfort or (even worse!) and injury.

It's just a matter of time before your client needs your help. 

It comes down to that you are helping a client without physically being in the same room as them. 

How This Applies To Our CURRENT Situation

It's just a matter of time before an organization needs your help as an ergonomist. You can look at OSHA calculators and most workplaces at some point of time will absolutely need your services. 

Now, let's look at this latest trend of Working From Home. There's a lot of risk here, ergonomically speaking. 

There's a few different categories where we as a profession can offer value: 

  • Office workers are working in non-neutral postures, for 40 hours a week. 
  • They may have received new equipment but it's either still in the box or not set-up optimally for them (talk about a waste of money!). 
  • They are make-shifted random home objects around the house to make them as comfortable and productive as possible. 
  • Dealing with all the other stressors (childcare), in addition to the perhaps exacerbated work stress.

There are simple suggestions that you can advise that will improve their comfort and strengthen the relationship between you and that employer for long-term consulting. 

Scope of Work 

This all depends on what you're interested in offering. Here's a few options to get started: 

1. Full Service: Questionnaire, Self-Measurements, Pictures, Video Consult, Full Report

This would probably be the most costly of remote assessments/consults because it will take the most amount of work for you to complete. For this reason, this would likely be attractive to those who have been working from home for sometime and have identified that they need a thorough approach to find solutions. 

2. Video or Voice Consult  

There's still value in informing your client if they are working within ergonomic criteria, resolve any ergonomic concerns, and offer suggestions to reduce ergonomic risk. 

You could offer this as a quick 30 to 45 minute call with no report or any further action from you. 

3. Any Combination From the Above 

The third option is to present several choices to your prospects and allow them to self-select the service that they would like to receive. I've read research in the past that states when prospects see more than one option, they tend to price anchor the more expensive option and in the end, make more purchases from you. 

That sounds pretty great, doesn't it? 

Long-term Planning

If you are interesting in doing video calls with your clients, I looked into what you'll need to do to stay compliant with HIPAA. 

There are a couple of options that you can look into, of course after you've made a business case for doing this as well as some sales. Please note that with each of these, your client will require some sort of smart phone or webcam: 

  •  Zoom for healthcare ($200/month) (HIPAA Compliant)
  • VISYTER

Your Go-Forward Plan  

OK. I laid out the details for you about this service type. The question is, is this something that would be a valuable addition to how you are doing business right now?

If you are interested, I encourage you to get started... NOW! Reach out to your client base and start educating them on the value and benefits of this. Remember you may need at least 7 touch points to move forward with a client. 

If you first need to learn how to do an office ergonomic assessment - click here and I'll let you know when I'm opening my Ergonomic Blueprint Course for enrolment (hint: it will be opening very soon!). This is the first step to doing this and after taking this course you will have the skillset to start offering Remote Office Ergonomic Assessments. 

Heck, some of my current student have ALREADY pivoted to adding this! 

Next, determine what you're going to offer. You don't need a website to get started (but it helps) emails, social media content, and phone call follow-ups work fine. 

One more thing - be aware that some workplaces are dealing with a lot of risks right now... but at the same time if their employees are working from home, this is something that they need to have. 

Take care my friends!! 

-Darcie 

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