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As we start our second lockdown on this ominously foggy day, I have just seen that the HSE have updated their guidance on looking after the health and wellbeing of homeworkers. I am so relieved as I have seen ever increasing severity of issues amongst the homeworkers I am assessing. It is so frustrating, as simple measures at the beginning would have saved months of discomfort. However, thankfully our bodies are pretty bioplastic and it is never too late to make an uncomfortable set up better.
As small snippet is below:

To help people working at home.
Specialised DSE equipment needs
Employers should try to meet those needs where possible.
For some equipment (eg keyboards, mouse, riser) this could mean allowing workers to take this equipment home.
For other larger items (eg ergonomic chairs, height-adjustable desks) encourage workers to try other ways of creating a comfortable working environment (eg supporting cushions).

Keep DSE arrangements under review
As any period of temporary home working extends, employers should have regular discussions with workers to assess whether additional steps are needed, for example where they report:
  • aches, pains or discomfort related to their temporary DSE arrangements
  • adverse effects of working in isolation, on remote IT systems
  • working longer hours without adequate rest and recovery breaks
Where employers decide to make working from home arrangements permanent, they should explain how to carry out full workstation assessments and provide workers with appropriate equipment and advice on control measures.

At Inspired Ergonomics we specialise in providing expert ergonomic advise, delivered remotely, for homeworkers, using a scientific yet pragmatic approach. We go above and beyond HSE guidelines to ensure you comply to the highest standards, so if we can be of assistance just contact us to book a free discovery call on how can help you to look after your employees.

HSE DSE Updated Working from Home Guidance

Delighted that the beautiful On Office Magazine (providing architect and design at work news) have included my article in their October Issue.

'To mark Backcare Awareness Week, leading UK back-pain-prevention expert and Health Ergonomist Nichola Adams offers practical advice on coping with the growing challenges of working from home

Nichola Adams, a Technical Member of The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors and Founder of Inspired Ergonomics, has compiled her top 10 tips to avert back pain for this week’s Backcare Awareness Week (October 5-9) . Combining the Greek words ergon (meaning ‘work’) and nomoi (meaning ‘natural laws’), Ergonomics is the science of making products and tasks comfortable and efficient for human use. “Health Ergonomics is a multidisciplinary science. It combines biomechanics (how our bodies move), anthropometrics (our measurements) and psychology to enable us to design products and services that best match people’s physical, as well as mental, capabilities,” explains Nichola.
She explains that “ergonomics recognises that we are all individuals and that there will be many external influences that affect our recovery. This includes the environment as well as social factors that affect, for instance, our attitudes towards our back pain, our stress levels and other influencing factors that can influence our levels of back pain.”'

 1. Keep moving When you do, blood flows more easily and brings nutrients and oxygen to your tissues and muscles. When sitting at your computer, standing breaks are vital. Take one every 30-60 minutes. Just standing up and siting back down will provide a beneficial boost. Take your laptop to a higher surface like a kitchen worktop or chest of drawers, then stand a while. Own a patio or garden? Work outside. Fresh air blows away brain cobwebs.  
2. Eat well, stay hydrated Keeping the body stocked with immune-boosting, antioxidant-rich foods is key. Antioxidant foods are also anti-inflammatory. Enjoy dark fruit and leafy vegetables. Magnesium-rich foods are also good for reducing mental and physical stress. Check your vitamin D levels with a home testing kit. Keep hydrated, aiming for 7-8 glasses a day. It’s all too easy, when we’re working hard, to forget to drink enough water.  
3. Sit up straight While moving regularly is key, sitting upright will also help reduce the load on your spine. Don’t sofa-slouch! If you only have your sofa to work from, mimic a good set-up. Build a supportive back using cushions (deep sofas cause slouching). Pop a cushion under your laptop to protect yourself against its heat and raise it up. Try an adjustable laptop holder that’s made for sofa or bed use.

You can read the full article at
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On Office: 10 lockdwn-beating tips to avert back pain

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have just updated their advice to say that employers have the SAME health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers, whether it is a temporary or permanent arrangement. I am hugely relieved that the HSE have now recognised that the new homeworkers need some help.

Much of my work these days is taken up with providing online homeworker assessments for those who have been working from home since lockdown. There has been a noticeable difference with those I see now, against those I advised at the beginning. Anyone with less than ideal set ups are really struggling, with pain affecting their ability to work effectively. The most common issues I am seeing are early RSI symptoms, lower back, shoulder and neck pain and headaches. However, all of these can be significantly reduced through some often simple but highly effective changes.

Many people I am seeing are working from small flats where the level of extra equipment they can house is minimal. In these instances, we are able to work with them to find key solutions that will provide the best way to reduce their discomfort without taking over their home. It is all about finding bespoke solutions for each individual and really listening to their issues in order to be able to do this.

Some companies I talk to are starting to return to the office with a mix of home and office working but many are not planning to return until December or January. It does now seem, with the number of Covid cases rising we might be returning to some sort of restricted living again.

So it's essential to take steps now to ensure your employees feel looked after when working from home, particularly as many are working harder than ever there, combined with far more intense periods of sitting and working at their computer (or indeed still having to work from their bed or sofa!).

For further advise, talk to us about our tailored ergonomic consultation services for your employees, which include:
Digital Homeworking Guides
Remote DSE Assessments (and face to face for those in the office)
Webinars to ensure Healthy Home working, including exercises and best practice (with Nutritional and Mental Health webinar options available)
Training for your in house assessors
Other support ergonomic services

You can read the new HSE advice at:

Update to HSE's Homeworker Advice

Thank you so much to Peter Crush for including me in his comprehensive article on Stress relief for the new homeworkers.
He discusses how the ongoing situation means many people are working from home for the first time, with all the challenges that brings. He Looks at how small business owners can go about protecting the mental wellbeing of themselves and their staff. To see the article in full, visit FSB's website.
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Stress Relief. Article in FSB Magazine, The Voice

Thank you so much to HR Director Magazine for including my article on Transitioning back into the Workplace

In this article are top tips for health and wellbeing, particularly back health, as people return to work. However, with some sort of blended working (homeworking and office working combined) continuing for the foreseeable future, do ensure that homeworkers are looked after.

If you need assistance with this, we offer online Ergonomic workshops and expert one to one assessments. For more information, just contact us at

To read the full article see:
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10 Tips For Businesses Transitioning Employees Back Into Work

A BIG thank you to Barbara for including the below article on her back pain blog. To see the full article see the following link


Employers: Consider ditching 'hot-desking' trend as Coronavirus deep-cleaning priorities kick in

Employees: Get ready for 'the new normal' - desk-working back-to-back (not face-to-face)

Home workers: Avoid awkward makeshift workstations like ironing boards, top back expert warns

All workers: Become accustomed to 'blended working', part-time office, part-time at home

Homeworkers are risking back pain, migraines, sciatica and RSI by creating makeshift workstations from domestic appliances like ironing boards, sofa armrests and rickety garden furniture

That's the finding of one of the country's leading health ergonomists and back-injury-prevention experts, who has conducted hundreds of home workstation assessments since lockdown began on March 23.

Nichola Adams normally tours top British companies' offices around the country advising them on how they can minimise the risk of back injury in the workforce. Her top ten tips are -


  1. CONSIDER DITCHING 'HOT-DESKING' It's going to be essential when we return to the office to implement a new 'single-desk-per-day' regime, and to clean work surfaces, like desks, chairs, monitors, keyboards and mice, at the end of every individual worker's shift. So, this does sound a death knell for the widespread cost-saving practice of 'hot-desking'. If workers are nervous about continuing to hot-desk, you'll need to respect their concerns.
  2. DOWNSIZE TO LOWER CAPACITY Because of the continuing rules on social distancing, companies with, say, 100 staff, will now only have capacity for 20-40 employees in the office at any one time. Businesses should plan ahead for this lower capacity. The need to radically reduce the amount of people in the office has already prompted many companies to rotate staff by day or by the week, to widen the spread between teams. A mix of homeworking and office shifts looks likely for the foreseeable future.
  3. GET BUSY SCREENING & CLEANING Screens or barriers may be needed around desks. Pods or self-contained units for workers will have partitions on all sides of the desk to stop the virus spreading when we cough and breathe. Covid-19 lingers longest on plastic, so the more porous your partition fabric, the more the virus is absorbed, meaning there's less likelihood of transference. Workstations should be cleansed after every shift, also chairs, tables, monitors and office break-out furniture as the virus lands on many surfaces. If used, reception sofas should be cleaned after each arriving guest.
  4. INCREASE SUPPORT FOR YOUR WORKFORCE A new Institute for Employment Studies (IES) survey of 500 homeworkers, found 75% said their employer had not carried out a health and safety risk assessment of their homeworking arrangements in lockdown. People are confused, need help, guidance and want to feel safe. Good advice is scarce. I recommend employers host health and wellbeing workshops, support employees' mental health, and conduct fresh office ergonomic workstation assessments, which they're legally obliged to if workstations move. Some staff may feel keen to return to the office, others nervous. Talk to individuals about their concerns.
  5. EMPLOYEE ALLOWANCES Musculoskeletal issues like back pain and injuries, and neck and upper-limb problems, cost UK plc nearly 7 million working days a year. Part of the problem of homeworking is few people have the right equipment to work comfortably in the long term. In lockdown, many companies are offering homeworkers an allowance . It is important to get professional advice on what equipment to buy, or consider sending their office equipment home.

For advise for your own homeworkers, please contact Inspired Ergonomics for details on one to one remote assessments and online workshops at

10 Tips For Businesses & Workers to Transition Out Of Lockdown As Some Offices Reopen

Homeworking seems as though it will be here to stay, at least in some sort of blended form, for the foreseeable future.

I have been conducting many homeworker assessments (via zoom) over the last few weeks, as well on line workshops, and the consensus seems to be a September return to the office, at the earliest. There is a very real concern of the safety of offices at the moment, although some are desperate to leave their homes and get back to a semblance of normality. This is especially true where employees have limited space or lack of privacy.

The IES survey conducted research in to how homeworking was impacting employees and found that, on average, 50% reported an increase in aches and pains. This has been clearly reflected in my assessments.

I have been seeing a lot of shoulder, neck, lower back issues, as well as migraines. This is due to many unsuitable set ups and sometimes very innovative styles of workstations. Yet this are seldom reported to the employer, it is only discovered on my call. I have seen ironing board and garden chairs being used, coffee tables and bar stools, to name but a few. The image used here actually reflects this point as this set up is less than ideal!

The good news is, however, that our bodies are very bioplastic and there are often some very simple but highly effective solutions that can make a huge difference to people's comfort levels, often without the need for any expensive extra equipment. I am delighted to report that my suggested changes often provide an instant relief from tension.

Where the issue is highly complex, I also help to identify where further signposting on is required.

If you would like to find out more about our consultancy services, please do contact me at or check our website

Looking after your homeworkers

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Angela Steel, Founder of Super Wellness and Nichola Adams discuss tips to staying healthy after lockdown

Angela and I have teamed together to provide essential steps to staying healthy, both in terms of back health and general health and wellbeing. We talk about how to boost your immune system as a defence against covid 19 as well as how to boost to back health (and prevent pain and tension build up when working from home).
For more information, contact us at We are providing in workshops that go into each element in more depth, to provide a highly effective wellbeing intervention for your employees.

To view the video, click here:

5 Steps to Stay Healthy After Lockdown

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Interview with Angela Steel, Founder of Award Winning Nutrition Business, Super Wellness.

Angela and I go in depth into how Ergonomics can help prevent and reduce back pain and why it is so important to take an individual approach. Included are some top tips on how to work from home comfortably and effectively and why nutrition, exercise and reducing stress are also important.

In Depth Interview with Nichola Adams and Angela Steel

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We can demonstrate that healthier, happier and nurtured employees perform better, are more dedicated, loyal and become evangelists for your brand. With our focus on desk space and comfort, we free your employees’ minds from any pain distractions that keep them working to their full potential, easing the distress and discomfort that back pain can cause.


A 15-minute, information-packed webinar that you we highly recommend you watch


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