n Journal of Contemporary Management - Managing work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the virtual office

Volume 13 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1815-7440



This article reports on a study conducted among virtual office employees (teleworkers) in South Africa. Technological developments drastically changed many traditional office scenarios into virtual offices. The correct use of information and communication technologies at alternative worksites is difficult to manage and to regulate. If ergonomics are not applied, it could result in health problems that could lead to costs for the employer. The problem pertains to the unknown prevalence and extent of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the virtual office and the consequences thereof for managers of teleworkers. Although telework has been practiced internationally for several decades, it is a new concept in South Africa with only a few large organisations embarking on telework.

An empirical study was conducted using two structured questionnaires (one for managers and one for teleworkers) to determine the categories and extent of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the virtual office environment that could result in claims and legal actions against managers and owners of enterprises.
The main findings indicated that managers do not recognise the importance of ergonomics and related illnesses with all its consequences and cost implications in the virtual office environment.

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