employees at work

Hybrid Working

HOW TO OPTIMISE EMPLOYEES COMFORT AND WELLBEING AS WE RETURN TO THE OFFICE (WHILST STILL WORKING FROM HOME)

After a year of working from home, many are starting to plan for a return to the office.

However, research shows, and my clients testify, that it isn’t going to be a straightforward return.

Many companies, large and small, are now preparing for a new hybrid, or smart way of working.

Homeworking has been shown to be highly productive for focused tasks, but there is still a need for office work, particularly for creative and collaborative tasks.  Where else can we connect with our colleagues and learn from our subtle interactions with others?

Above all else, not everyone is comfortable working from home, particularly in shared spaces, with young families or flatmates, where there isn’t enough room (or private space) for a dedicated workspace.

Indeed, in many cases, out of sight has been out of mind as employees have struggled with their back health as well as their overall physical and mental health when working from home.

It is being recognised that the office will need to be different, in order to keep people safe (operating at around 25% capacity), as well as entice people in (getting through that commute).  It will also be a place for focusing on that collaborative work.

It appears that the following features will apply:

  1. A return to hot desking, as limiting capacity and flexible working means shared spaces
  2. Bringing the home into the office, with comfortable break out areas, as well as privacy spots
  3. A need for quiet spaces as well as creative spaces.

It will need to evolve as worker’s needs, in the new normal, become apparent.

However, one thing is clear, whether working from home or in the office.

ERGONOMIC EDUCATION

I have been witnessing a huge increase in back pain when working from home, caused from a perfect combination of less movement, inappropriate work setups and stress.

So proper ergonomic care will need to be provided in both spaces, to avoid a tsunami of back pain affecting sick leave levels and productivity.

In order to help those hot desking, in the office, not only to comply with HSE regulations,but to look after your employees, the following is needed:

  1. Ergonomic Education.  As employees will have to know how to adapt each space to suit them, they will require the tools to optimise their work-set up when they come in each morning
  2. Adaptable Ergonomic Furniture: It will no longer be possible for certain individuals to have special furniture set aside for them.   So it would be optimal to ensure that the furniture that you provide for everyone is adjustable to adapt to each persons individual needs.   This includes, as a basic starting guide:
    1. Monitor stands/arms, that adjust to individual sitting eye heights
    1. Laptop docking stations 
    1. Keyboards and mice (so users don’t use their laptops as input devices)
    1. Areas where you can go and stand to work to allow everyone to vary their sitting with standing work.
    1. Ergonomic chairs.   With the need for less workstations, now is the perfect time to invest in chairs that can adjust to fit everyone.  Optimally, in order to provide support to prevent as well as reduce back pain, the following adjustments are needed:
      1. Lumbar support:  Ideally depth and height adjustable (to reduce lower back pain
      1. Armrests that adjust in depth, height and width (to reduce shoulder and neck pain)
      1. Seat depth (to allow different height users to adjust it to their own thigh length)
      1. Seat height
      1. Backrest angle (everyone has a slightly different ideal sitting back rest angle, so this adjustment is key)
      1. Seat angle (helpful for those with hip pain).

The  Corrigo Design chair range is fully upholstered with a slim profile, that makes it more suited for both home working and the home ‘look’ office.   Particularly as it is available in a variety of fabrics and colours to suit the general aesthetic.

Choose from:

Entry Level:

Homeworker chair.   This has all of the essential adjustable features at an affordable price:Homeworker Chair

Ergonomic:

The Diffusion makes the ideal chair for all. The size 2 will adjust to suit everyone, from 5ft 2 to 6ft 2, and the slim backrest not only supports an open chested posture (enabling recovery from all that slouching), it has a slim profile too: Diffusion Chair

Specialist:

The Libero is your optimal choice, with an extra level of adjustability allowing people to fine tune the backrest and seat angle to suit them.   Perfect for even the most chronic back condition and ensuring that a change of chair won’t be required again:  Libero Chair

Or The Rituwell plus, with its more standard backrest but matching high levels of adjustability https://www.corrigo-design.com/shop/ergonomic-chairs/rituwell-star-specialist-ergonomic-chair-copy/

NB:  For more information on our Ergonomics support program, visit Inspired ergonomics:  www.inspiredergonomics.com