How to stay comfortable in a time of changing workplaces

07 Mar 2018

Health & Safety


DSE assessment

Display Screen Equipment assessments are nothing new; traditionally, an employee receives training at their desk to encourage good posture, minimise reaching and advise on chair set up and screen positioning. Setting up an employee’s workstation typically reduces discomfort and prevents injury; new employees and anyone that has moved location should undertake a DSE assessment.

However, the age of traditional DSE assessments may be coming to an end. Employers are increasingly operating hot desk policies, assigning more employees to fewer desks to account for employees who travel or work from home. Clear-desk rules are becoming more common with employees required to tidy away all personal items before leaving the office for the day.

The desk is no longer the only place an employee works. Offices are changing how they operate with employees favouring informal break-out areas, coffee bars and even bean bags for their meetings over the traditional meeting room. This change in the way we work poses a challenge for how to keep employees comfortable.

Hot desking

Hot-desking employees need to set up their desk every day before they start working. Training employees in simple adjustments such as chair height, back support, screen height and keyboard positioning can be hugely beneficial for an employee’s comfort. Encouraging employees to habitually set up their desk before working could be challenging; visual cues and regular reminders could assist with this.

Break-out areas

Employers are increasing offering a wider variety of meeting spaces in the office in which their staff can collaborate; especially tech giants such as Google. Break-out areas, coffee bars, roof terraces and sofas are used, posing challenges in keeping an employee comfortable. How can an employee’s screen height be correct when they’re sat on a bean bag? Encouraging employees to move regularly, audio-record their meetings or use dictation devices to avoid being glued to the screen could help. Employees should use a range of different seating types to ensure their posture and positioning stays varied.

Working remotely

With the rise in video conferencing facilities enabling employees to work remotely, the office isn’t necessarily the primary place of work. It is just as important for home workstations to be correctly adjusted as those in the office. Employees should also be provided with advice for staying comfortable on the go; trains, planes and hotel rooms can each pose challenges in staying comfortable.

New trends

With smart-watches and apps monitoring our every movement, information on how much time an employee spends sitting, standing and moving is available at the touch of a button. Employees are becoming more incentivised to move around regularly, motivating them to organise walking or standing meetings. Regular movement can have a huge positive impact on comfort levels.

So while some changes in the way we’re working can be challenging for providing ergonomic support to employees, it’s still possible to stay comfortable at work - wherever that may be.

Read more about our company-specific EHS programs and ergonomic services.