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From the Desk of Nichola Adams

Who is responsible for arranging your workstation assessment

At Inspired Ergonomics, we are working with our clients to create sustainable home working policies.   Now that hybrid working is here to stay, we are providing guidance on how to create a workable policy that looks after your company’s wellbeing as well as providing a return on investment.

During the pandemic, we provided up to 5,000 remote homeworker assessments, and saw first-hand the extent of employees struggles. As the world of work has now changed on our return to normal, we continue to provide remote assessments for home workers and are still witnessing people struggling.

The majority of our clients are operating a hybrid working policy, with most employees continuing to work a day or two at home every week.  It is therefore essential to ensure that employees are working safely, whether they are in the office or at home. However, the home working environment is a far more complex one to resolve, and companies are unsure of how best to support their employees needs without a huge cost in terms of equipment and time to provide this, or having the expertise in house.

We regularly witness companies using a tick box questionnaire approach, but this is lacking uptake from employees as they either don’t have the time, don’t believe it will help or don’t believe they will be helped if they complete it. It is therefore not picking up those who need more support to prevent the resulting absenteeism and drop in productivity when dealing with back pain or discomfort, yet often all it needs it the right ergonomics education at the right time.

We are still witnessing far too many people who are using laptops without any peripheral equipment, or sitting on their dining chair at a dining table – if they are lucky.  Even if they only have their bedroom to use, there are still very simple but effective ways that we can help reduce their risk of developing a serious long term back issue.

So, who is responsible for looking after employee when working from home and writing a home workstation policy?

The employer has a duty of care to ensure employees are working in a safe environment.  You need to provide clear guidance and education on how to correctly set up a workstation, no matter where they are working and what equipment they currently have.

This is complicated by the fact that there is not a one size fits all policy and that this way of working, as standard, is still relatively new.

So, when developing a home workstation assessment policy, there are several key elements to consider which include:

  1. The purpose of the policy, why it is being implemented and the expected outcomes
  2. Who the policy applies to
  3. How you will be providing a workstation assessment – will it be in house and if so, are they correctly trained?Or will you need an external expert to save your in-house resources and prevent expensive mistakes being made (such as the wrong equipment being recommended, or the wrong advice being provided)?
  4. When is a home workstation assessment required?Is it just when an employee first starts with you, when there is a new injury, if they are pregnant?
  5. How do you allow employees to report issues and are they encouraged or discouraged?Outline the process for reporting these and who to report them to
  6. How will the issues be resolved and addressed?What are the timelines for resolution and who is responsible for addressing them
  7. What will the budget be for homeworking equipment deemed ‘reasonable’ and how will you research and find suitable equipment that is right for each individual?

At Inspired Ergonomics we can ease the cost and resources needed to support employee’s health and wellbeing in both working environments by providing a full ergonomics support program for you, which is bespoke to your individual requirements and budget.

This includes:

  1. A fully managed and cost effective online self-assessment tool that educates and trains employees to proactively make changes to prevent and reduce pain and discomfort as well as capture those at high risk who need a more individual approach
  2. Remote homeworker assessments and in person office assessments for those with more complex issues that need personalised recommendations.A full report follows that includes research products (helping you avoid expensive mistakes)
  3. Walkthroughs: a cost-effective way to educate all your employees in the office
  4. Webinars and workshops provided online or in person
  5. Training for in house DSE champions

People also ask

Nichola Adams

Founder of Inspired Ergonomics

Nichola Adams, MSc Health Ergonomics, Tech CIEHF, ACPOHE Reg Member, is the Founder of Inspired Ergonomics.

Nichola is a specialist in back pain disorders in the workplace. Inspired Ergonomics regularly provides consultancy services to leading UK and International companies on how to reduce and prevent back pain in the workplace as well as working with rehabilitation companies.

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