n Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - Ergonomics and technologies : regulatory compliance in the virtual office in South Africa

Volume 27, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1010-2728



This article reports on a study conducted among virtual office employees (n=163) in South Africa. Interest in this topic was triggered by the influence of technological developments that have changed the traditional office scenario. The purpose of the study was to investigate the extent to which policies, regulations and legislation in terms of ergonomics and technologies are put into practice in order to ensure compliance. The absence of policies, regulations and legislation means that no information or training is available for teleworkers that could prevent health and wellness problems. An empirical study was conducted using two structured questionnaires, one for managers and one for employees. The main findings indicate that although a telework policy was in place, not all organisations had formal telework agreements with teleworkers. Arrangements with employees were of an informal nature and the application of policies and regulations was very low. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders may develop if the correct ergonomic principles are not applied. Organisations that allow flexible work arrangements must endeavour to adhere to the relevant Acts and government regulations to ensure that teleworkers work in a safe environment, protecting them from risk factors leading to health and wellness problems.

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