Workstation Assessments for Home and Hybrid Workers.
What is the best way to give valuable advice and cover the legal obligations?
How we work has changed dramatically, people can now access, and interact with their role online. This has given rise to the Home and Hybrid working format. Working from home and coming into a collaborative hub through the week gives many benefits, but their are also challenges that need to be addressed. Lack of physical movement is a major factor causing muscular aches and pains, and lack of energy. It is important to look at lifestyle and habits rather that just what chair someone has.
Arguably, it is more important to give advice on exercises, strategies for time management and preventing burnout. Rather than just ticking a few boxes about how the chair works.
Workstation assessments for Home and Hybrid working should take into account these factors:
- How the individual interacts with the equipment on a daily basis.
- What equipment they have and may need.
- What advice on wellbeing habits and exercise can be given.
The Health and Safety Executive state that: As an employer, you must protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. We describe these workers as ‘DSE users’. The regulations don’t apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a short time. In law, employers must:
- do a DSE workstation assessment.
- reduce risks, including making sure workers take breaks from DSE work or do something different.
- provide an eye test if a worker asks for one.
- provide training and information for workers.
Incorrect use of DSE or poorly designed workstations or work environments can lead to pain in necks, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists, and hands as well as fatigue and eye strain. The causes may not always be obvious. The law applies if users are, for example:
- at a fixed workstation
- mobile workers
- home workers
- hot-desking (workers should carry out a basic risk assessment if they change desks regularly).
You may have no system in place, or you may have a whole team of DSE assessors, the important thing is to consider how to give real value to your people.
Hybrid and Home working has created new challenges, it is a positive time to look forward with new healthier, more lifestyle orientated working methods.
The standard DSE Workstation checklist was designed a long time ago, and doesn’t include some of the key factors associated with working from home. Ideally people would create a home office environment, that replicates the sole purpose of an office working area. This just isn’t the case for most people now working from home. They are using small spaces in a spare bedroom or kitchen, sometimes without a monitor or separate keyboard and mouse. The following is areas of advice that should be included for home workers, with recommendations given and ways to make improvements given. You may have to make some adjustments, but aligning these things early in the process makes the working life of an employee much more enjoyable and productive.
Avoid only sending out the standard DSE checklist for home workers, it is important you include additional advice and support on the different challenges that home working creates.
Questions to consider
Who in your Organisation takes DSE Assessments?
Are they passionate and will people listen to them and value the advice?
Can you collate all the wellbeing resources you have, to include with the assessment:
- Dates throughout the year for specific days or initiatives.
- Videos of exercise advice.
- Timetable of offerings e.g. Yoga, mindfulness
- Additional Benefits you offer e.g. Healthcare, physio
What assessment checklist will you use, and does it need to be updated?
What part of the process works well for home and hybrid workstation advice?
Do you need to change or create a new process or can you bolt on additional services or actions to bring it in line with the desired level of support?
Are you going to offer 1:1 video advice and take people through their checklist?
If you have a hybrid and home working policy, does the Workstation checklist match the statements and processes in the policy?
If people are coming into the office and do not have a designated workstation, then use a best practice model. People need to be educated on the best ways to interact and use the workstations, to suit them. They are not required to fill in a DSE workstation checklist each time they come into the office environment. Use a simple best practice document on an online internal collaboration hub, so people can access it. This shows you are providing the support and advice needed. It is also important to put other resources as a point of reference for example videos or images of exercises and best practice.
Click here to access our Hot Desking Best practice form.
Workstation and Posture Support going forward still has the same minimum requirements. It is the relevant advice included into the process that makes it work for 2021 and beyond. The process should be based around lifestyle, wellbeing and task management, rather than only ticking a box on an outdated checklist.