Last week we sent a member of the team to review the Agile Working Event we hosted for clients in Bristol. Let's find out how they got on...
It was just like any other business conference. Sign your name, pick up your badge, pour yourself a cup of tea and mingle with the other delegates. Except here the floor was carpeted in leopard-print. The grand corridors housed life-sized golden animal statues, and beneath the balcony in the gardens below the conference room, a flock of bright pink flamingos huddled together in the November drizzle.
We were at the Clifton Pavilion Conference Centre at Bristol Zoo for Posturite's Agile Working Event - the third stop in our 2018 winter tour of the UK and Ireland. Interesting venue choice appears to be a speciality of our events team. In the past they've hosted at iconic places such as London's spectacular 'gothic jewel', St-Martin-in-the-Fields and Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry, and on Thursday 15 November they're going to be bringing the Agile Event to Dublin's famous Croke Park stadium, home of rugby and Gaelic football.
It isn't just the venue that makes the event special, though. The presentations were genuinely interesting and packed with actionable advice for health and safety professionals. Chartered physiotherapist and experienced ergonomist Katharine Metters was with us to talk about musculoskeletal risks in various agile working environments, and how to avoid them. We also had our own e-learning and software expert Ryan Church on-hand to introduce the new agile working e-learning course that our developers and illustrators have been working hard on over the past few months. To top it all off, we were joined by employment lawyer Owen John and HR consultant Fiona Sinclair from Darwin Gray LLP, who spoke very eloquently about the legal considerations employers should make for agile workers (in short - it's different for everybody!).
The format of the event was simple: refreshments and networking followed by two presentations in the lecture hall, then lunch, then another presentation and more refreshments (in the shape of mini scones and cakes, which everyone looked very happy about). In the main conference suite, Posturite team members and some of our suppliers had set up exhibition stands showcasing various products for delegates to try out while they drank their coffee and nibbled their scones.
To get the most out of a free Agile Working Event, you of course have to be there, but to give you a taster, and to encourage you to sign up when next year's events are announced, we've put together a list of 10 things you'll learn at a Posturite Agile Working Event.
1. Agile working is as much a mindset as it is a way of working. You have to see work as something you do, not somewhere you go.
2. DSE regulations aren't everything. Staying healthy at work requires common sense and most importantly - physical movement.
3. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) often develop with time and repetition. The next posture is always the best.
4. When it comes to working out legal contract terms for agile workers, discuss it, agree it and make sure it's down in writing beforehand.
5. Always think 'what could happen' and put reasonable measures in place to prevent this.
6. E-learning can be carried out anywhere, any time, lending itself perfectly to the agile way of working.
7. Agile workers should ideally be given laptop stands with a separate mouse and keyboard in order to set up an ergonomic workstation anywhere.
8. How and where you work depends on the tasks being carried out. Note-taking and reading could be done in an armchair or on a train, whereas writing a long report may require a DSE-compliant workstation.
9. The key to keeping an agile workforce healthy and safe is forward-planning and training. Understand the risks, make sure staff understand the risks, then give them the tools and knowledge they need to lower them.
10. It's important to make sure agile workers feel included, not isolated, but equally that they are not being micromanaged as this defeats the point of agile working. It is supposed to enhance performance and encourage staff to take more responsibility for their work.
Of course, there's plenty to learn about agile working, and we've only skimmed the surface in this blog. At our events you can ask the presenters questions, have discussions with each other and share your own experiences of what works and what doesn't. As workers become increasingly agile, it's also becoming increasingly important that we as employers educate ourselves on best practice. Posturite's Agile Events create a friendly, comfortable and relaxed environment in which we can all learn from each other.