There continues to be a split concerning the perception of remote working in the UK, as while some businesses continue to embrace flexible working directives, others raise concerns about the potential impact on collaboration and productivity.
Sir James Dyson certainly belongs in the latter camp, having recently suggested that the increased prevalence of home working will have a negative effect on the competitiveness of UK firms.
While this debate will continue to rage, there’s undoubtedly a number of issues for parties to overcome as remote working becomes more popular. In this post, we’ll look at the issues posed by the physical impact of working from home, while asking how the correct use of adequate equipment can help to keep employees safe.
What are the Physical Challenges of Remote Working?
This issue was explored in detail recently by the National Accident Helpline, who conducted a survey of 1,000 respondents who have recently spent increased amounts of time working from home.
The headline numbers were telling; as more than half of all injuries reported by remote workers involved a chair in one way or another.
More specifically, 22% of injuries involved the incorrect use of an ergonomic chair, while a further 32% reference a different type of chair and its alignment.
What’s more, a further 25% of reported injuries involved the positioning of an office desk, which may be compounded by a lack of space in an individual’s office or a failure to invest in a viable and ergonomic layout.
These injuries highlight the role that home office equipment plays in the injuries recorded by home workers, with employees who operate remotely seemingly more inclined to suffer as a result of inadequate or incorrectly used equipment.
Such issues may be further exacerbated by a lack of space in home offices, and the failure of employers to carry out risk assessments in remote working environments.
The Need to Invest in Good Equipment
There’s no doubt that investing in good equipment and teaching employees to use this effectively is central to optimising the health of remote employees, with this borne out by the instances where faulty equipment has led to medical negligence claims.
Home workers should also consider the benefits of investing in good and high-quality equipment, which include:
- Minimise the Risk of Injury: Let’s start with the basics; as the procurement and installation of the right equipment can immediately minimise the risk of injury. As we can see, instances of injury involving an ergonomic chair are much lower than those pertaining to other types of chair, while this number is likely to fall further in cases where the chair in question is well assembled and positioned correctly.
- Improve Productivity: When using high-quality and suitable equipment in your home office, you’re more likely to record higher levels of productivity. For example, investing in a computer monitor with anti-glare technology makes it much easier to focus for an extended period of time, while the correct placement of your monitor in relation to your chair and mouse also enables you to work as comfortably as possible.
- Improved Mood: On a final note, working in a comfortable environment with the right equipment can improve your mood and overall levels of engagement. Both of these elements are crucial when working from home, as they enable employees to remain focused at all times and minimise the impact of isolation on their mindset.