Making sure your employees have the correct equipment when working from home is really important. Studies have shown that those who work from home with a proper workstation set up are more productive. This is due to the comfortability of the space and equipment they are using. Working from home has rocketed from 4.7% in 2019, to 58% opting for hybrid working and 19% being remote in 2022. This sudden rise can be closely linked to the increase in back and neck pain to a whooping 55% across the country since the start of lockdown.
So what should employers be doing to make sure their employees are receiving the correct support when they work?
Looking at this statistic we can only assume those without a suitable set up aren’t as productive or properly engaged when working. So we had a conversation at Posture People HQ about workstation items (and some partial DSE laws) that are essential when having staff remotely working.
1. Office Chair
Employers are required by law to provide office workers with regular DSE assessments and an adequate workstation. This includes making sure the employee has the correct office chair. Though many people can sit on a standard office chair (which must have adjustable arms, a height adjustable backrest and a 5 star base), some may require a specialist chair with lumbar support or a headrest to support the neck.
Here are some of our faves:
“As an employer you’re likely to be responsible for providing, installing and maintaining all equipment unless the employee uses their own.” (NI Business Info) Equipment you need to provide may include a suitable desk, although in some instances the end user may not have space, so an alternative option could be the kitchen table and a desk raiser or laptop stand.
This one might seem obvious, so we’ll keep it short! A laptop or computer and monitor is essential for working from home and this shouldn’t be an employees personal equipment. Not only does that breach GDPR but also makes it harder for remote workers to turn off or separate their personal time from working time (which isn’t great from a well-being point of view!)
Although having a monitor isn’t a legal requirement if you have provided a laptop, like man and dog it’s a laptops best friend. Not only does it make your employees life a lot easier, it also encourages workers not to squint or strain their eyes when working!
5. Laptop Stand or a Monitor Riser
If your employee uses a laptop, they will require some form of elevation – such as a laptop stand. The same goes for monitor screens – a monitor arm or riser will be required to ensure the employee is working at the correct height. Using a laptop stand at eye line prompts good upright posture. It also prevents eye strain and can help reduce neck pain.
Even if you have provided a laptop, supplying a separate keyboard is an essential piece of equipment. Keyboards can prevent wrist, arm and shoulder pains and is a must for those who suffer from RSI’s. From an ergonomic perspective, we would suggest a compact keyboard so that your forearms are naturally angled to type. These forgo the keypad so that your elbows can rest close to the body, but you can often add a separate one if you use it for shortcuts.
As for a mouse, it really depends on the task that you find the most repetitive. If you are constantly scrolling, then we’d suggest a vertical mouse with a scroll wheel. If there tends to be a lot of switching screens or you have a repetitive strain injury, then a rollermouse may be what’s required!
“Mouse wrist pain (also known as RSI) is a common issue that comes up for those who work on computers. If you’ve noticed that your wrist feels uncomfortable when working on a computer, it’s best to not ignore it because it can lead to injury and even Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.”
8. (bonus item!) Specialist equipment
DSE Assessments are vital for anyone who works more than an hour a day on display screens. Whilst running the assessment, the assessor focuses on the ergonomics of the end users workstation. “Ergonomics is the scientific study of people in the workplace, with the aim of improving efficiency and productivity.” In this case, one size does not fit all, and if someone has previously experienced back pain or a musculoskeletal condition they’ll most likely need some extra support. This could include a coccyx cut-out, arm-rest support or a footrest. If there is something else you’re looking for, go to our accessory page or contact us to enquire.