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Choosing the right products for your agile workers

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Q & A

Q: Undertaking employer risk assessments and training for multi user sites. What tips would you give?

A: KM: I think we need to be clear who is a DSE user (working habitually at a workstation whether in the office or at home, or series of similar work stations) and those who are using portable IT in a less frequent, more intermittent way. For those who are DSE users we still need to complete DSE assessments and general risk assessments whereas with the latter we need to consider integrating their use of IT within their overall risk assessment to ensure that their physical and psychological risks are managed. In relation to training I think people expect and respond to a more advice style of training with flexible access to information as and when they want, and the freedom to decide what content is relevant to them. Supervision of employees is more difficult now due to multi locations so we should provide them with the information so they can make the right decisions.

Q: How do you manage differing DSE needs in an agile office? How can people have a designated specialist chair if they don't have their own space? (plus footrests, keyboards etc)

A: DK: I believe that if you have a better standard of workstation, then there is likely and I have seen a significant reduction in the need for specialist equipment. A good ergonomic chair, adaptable monitor arm (from a seated position), and preferably a height adjustable desk, will resolve most issues. The more investment that can be made in the ergonomics and adaptability of the workstation will significantly reduce the need for specialist equipment. However, there will be a small number of people who do have specific requirements. Storage for this equipment should be considered, as well as how moveable the equipment is. (E.g. can a keyboard be swapped easily, can the footrest be moved and lifted comfortably)

Q: Hi, would you be able to comment on ergonomic mice/keyboards - how do people know which is the right one for them?

A: DK: Advice from independent people with a good product knowledge will be a good start. The option of being able to trial the products is also important. Speak to your account manager who can advise on the options, and ways in which we can support businesses.

KM: This is quite complex but with experience gets easier; however, you can never be prescriptive as choice can be very personal so it is important to be able to return products if they are not right for the person. For specific assistance give us a call and we will try to help your decision making.

Q: Hi. Good info. What's your thoughts on hygiene? Is there any best practice out there on cleaning regimes for workstations?

A: DK: There are a few ways that this can be managed:

  • Personal cleaning. Providing each workstation with cleaning wipes, so that individuals can clean their own equipment before (and after) use
  • Part of the cleaning contract. Weekly cleaning of keyboards and desktop items
  • Prevention – looking at a range of preventative measures. It would be worth looking at our Seal Shield products for ideas.

KM: It’s difficult to be rigid on this as it will depend on the routines and the number of users as well. Eating at desks will also increase the issues. Like all these things have a good look and make judgements on your situation, but as David says make cleaning products available and encourage people to leave any workstation they use clean - a good habit to form.

Q: New non-adjustable LED lighting - some staff are struggling with brightness as new desks are white. Any tips?

A: DK: This is a difficult one, but not uncommon. The lights themselves might not be adjustable, but can the bulbs be changed? Desk mats may work, with some going as large as the desk top, which may reduce the glare from the white tops.

KM: I would contact a lighting specialist for their assistance, in the short term I would agree with David, desk mats and other colours/plants in the area can help.

Q: The DSE Regs are out of date particularly about agile working. Do you have any idea if they are to be amended?

A: KM: I doubt we would see anything before Brexit. However, we understand the risks associated with working with computers and I believe we can do good risk assessments on our staff and the ways they are now working and put in controls to effectively manage the risks to keep our employees healthy and productive. That is what we should concentrate on.

Q: Please advise if we have 50 people, should we plan all 50 places in agile working or less/more?

A: DK: you really need to look at your average occupancy. How many people are in at any time. There are software products that can help with this. Due to the size of your company, it may be possible for your line managers to take a count a few times a day to see which desks are being used? I would suggest every 2 hours for 4 weeks. It may be best to avoid school holidays as occupancy is likely to be significantly down.

Q: Just wondered what your opinions are on raiseable desks please?

A: DK: Honestly, I think they are excellent, and every company should be considering them. Personally, I believe that the ‘trend’ isn’t a trend at all, I think it’s a shift in the way of working, and if employees can work to increase their standing time every day, then this has significant health benefits. See our webinar on Active Working: www.posturite.co.uk/webinars/2016-webinars/active-working-how-sit-stand-desks-will-improve-your-business

KM: I agree with David, not sure I could be as effective and manage my health without them, however they are not essential for all. In multi user environments they are particularly helpful as they will fit nearly everybody, work with most activities and allow active working.

Q: How do you cater for people working away from the office? Are there any proven systems for home use for people choosing to work away from their site?

A: KM: Wow a huge question. It really depends on your activities, your employees, your location and company ethos. We do work with clients who have effective systems to allow their employees to work away from traditional offices and at home but they are all slightly different. If you would like to chat this through please feel free to contact me.

Date & time

Friday 26 January 2018, 12:30 pm

Presenters

Katharine Metters, MCSP MSc.Erg CMIOSH PGCE
Head Consultant, Posturite

David Kirtley
Seating Specialist, Posturite

Overview

The challenge when it comes to choosing products for agile workers is having the right thought process. It’s about understanding that you’re not buying for employees who stick to one place all day: you’re buying for a range of people using different environments. This can be tricky.

Our upcoming webinar blends the ergonomic expertise of Lead Consultant Katharine Metters with the product knowledge of our Seating Specialist David Kirtley. Together they will explore the challenges employers face when it comes to agile working, and offer advice on product selection to make sure your choices pay off.

About the speakers

Katharine Metters

Katharine is a Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, holds a Masters Degree in Ergonomics and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Safety and Health. This unique combination of qualifications, together with her vast range of experience working within healthcare, food, retail and utility sectors, enables Katharine to offer a very broad based range of training, education and health & safety management in the workplace.

David Kirtley

David is our seating specialist and resident ergonomic office chair expert at Posturite, having progressed his career with the company for the last fifteen years. With his in-depth knowledge and vast experience working closely with suppliers and manufacturers as well as senior managers, directors and consultants, he is perfectly placed to support clients through the important chair selection process.