A new study of over 2400 home workers reveals the shocking state of workstation posture and the reasons why:
23% of home workers admit to mostly working from their kitchen table
51% of home workers acknowledge their workspace is not setup for correct posture
52% of employers have not conducted basic HSE & DSE checks for home worker staff
68% of home worker staff incorrectly assume it’s their responsibility to provide suitable DSE
36% of home working staff are fearful of asking employers to help with their workspace in case their employer asks them to not work from home anymore
Leading UK supplier of low priced office supplies, stationery and furniture; www.euroffice.co.uk polled over 2400 people (between January and April 2019) who regularly work more than 1 day per week from home to lift the lid on just how good or bad their workspace is, what they plan on doing about it and why it’s less than perfect.
Having a dedicated space to work from at home is essential for allowing proper productivity whilst providing a clear separation of work and life. However, ensuring a workspace is setup correctly to safeguard proper posture and overall protection for the worker is something that’s failing to be understood and actioned by both employers and workers in equal measure.
Euroffice has found that whilst 81% of home workers have a dedicated workspace setup in their homes, 78% of workers are using a laptop as their main setup and yet only 62% of workers are actually using this desk setup. A shocking 23% of people said they regularly work from the kitchen table and even worse, 9% said the sofa.
Compounding these study findings, Euroffice discovered that just 48% of workers said they were fully aware of what the correct working position & posture should be. Following this, Euroffice asked workers to be more thoughtful about their working posture and describe it as accurately as they could; 26% of respondents said they described their working posture as likely to be “terrible”. 32% said it was “okay” and 41% said they considered it “good”.
David Bryant from www.euroffice.co.uk commented: “we’re all guilty these days of hunching over a laptop screen at home, whether for work or pleasure. However, the alarming numbers which this study highlights show a basic failure of the working from home setup and the duty of care employers have, but also workers themselves seem to be wilfully neglecting their own health”
Euroffice’s study also asked workers to be candid about when sat at their workspace, how they sit most of the time. The results are probably not terribly surprising; 43% said they sit slouched over on their chair looking down at their screen whilst 32% said they sit on the edge of their seats with their lower back curved. 27% of workers also say they have noticed a curving of their neck in recent years.
However, it seems where employers are concerned there is a worrying breakdown in obligations and communication occurring with work from home employees. Euroffice has discovered that 36% of home workers are actually fearful of asking their employer to help them with a comfortable and safe workspace at home for fear of being asked to no longer work flexibly.
17% of respondents to the Euroffice study said their employer had made the effort or attempted to ensure their workspace at home was suitable. Just as shocking a revelation is that 68% of home workers think it’s their responsibility to provide a suitable workstation and DSE setup and only 12% correctly said it was their employers responsibility.
Guidelines from ACAS state: Employers have a duty of care for all their employees, and the requirements of the health and safety legislation apply to homeworkers. The employer is responsible for carrying out a risk assessment to check whether the proposed home workplace’s ventilation, temperature, lighting, space, chair, desk and computer, or any kind of workstation, and floor are suitable for the tasks the homeworker will be carrying out. The employer is responsible for the equipment it supplies, but it is the employee’s responsibility to rectify any flaws in the home highlighted by the assessment. Once the home workplace has passed the assessment, it is the employee who is responsible for keeping it that way.
David Bryant from Euroffice also said
“flexible working arrangements are an essential tool in today’s workplace for ensuring employee’s work life balance is met. To be in a situation where once workers are given the flexibility to perform their duties from home that over a third are too scared to ask for the appropriate help from their employer is a terrible situation to be in. Clearly employee’s feel a burden of responsibility and anxiety over being allowed to work from home and are fearful of losing this benefit should they ask or require something that they feel is expensive or special compared to what’s already provided in the office environment. The opposite could not be more true. It’s an employers responsibility to provide a correct and safe workspace setup wherever staff are working, their obligations do not end because their employee is working remotely and they should be mindful of this fact as they could be held liable in the future for homeworker health complaints”