If you spent most of 2020 being torn between the advantages of being in the office while embracing home working, you’re not alone.
Up until now, we’ve all been in some sort of waiting room, contemplating the next phase of whatever comes next.
But the forward view is getting clearer, it’s time for employers to start planning for what hybrid working means for them.
Hybrid working – it’s the new buzzword, describing the “best of both worlds” balance of being in the office and working from home.
Just because the pandemonium of Covid seems to be receding with the coming of the vaccine, it doesn’t mean everyone is going to pile back into the office.
When I speak to people, they tell me it might be three days in the office and two days at home, or maybe they’ll do a week about. Some say they only need one day a week in the office but others will want to be back five days, Monday to Friday.
Which means businesses will have to restructure themselves, stop playing things by ear and start making more permanent arrangements. We’ll have to decide who’s doing what and where, and commit to the longer term environment.
It’s all about putting structure, integration and collaboration in place, and it’s important we understand that the initiative lies with the employer.
Employers owe a duty of care to their staff, and this includes ensuring the health, safety and welfare of those who are working from home.
Yes, that is the rub: employers have the same legal duty of care for remote working employees.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary workplace safety legislation. The act makes no distinction between home and in-office workers.
The Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999 specifically states that “employers are responsible for the health and safety of homeworkers, as far as is reasonably practicable”.
See, I’ve been doing my homework – if you’ll excuse the pun.
So if someone has a sciatica-inducing chair in their home, with their monitor balanced on top of a book, it’s time to do something about it.
As an employer, you have to discuss what’s needed to do the job, for example a reliable and secure internet connection and a suitable desk and chair.
Maybe employees are working from a dressing table in their bedroom, or their kitchen table, and we can all work from that but in my opinion, the main thing is getting a decent chair.
You should be able to work at computer workstations without discomfort or fatigue. The monitor should be placed at a suitable height, with the display clearly legible and without glare or reflection.
Now I’m a big ambassador for monitor arms. At work, I use three screens, all meticulously adjusted but I guess you would expect me to have that level of attention to (my own) comfort.
Joking aside, it is really important businesses can be confident their workforce has their comfort level and wellbeing sorted.
At Revive, our specialism is creating an efficient custom-built workspace, which includes home offices, with our access to a great supply chain.
We’ve been working with one client in particular to provide a fully bespoke and customised home office with furniture from the Buzz Home Office range (pictured).
These were developed in response to the current rise in homeworking and they’re available in a huge selection of colours and woodgrains.
To be honest, we can transform a dedicated room in any home into a made-to-measure home office.
We offer you the choice and flexibility to find the creative customised solutions that also make the most of technological and innovative design efficiencies. It’s what we do.
So as we look to a post-Covid world, it’s clear that the workforce has changed priorities so business has to change its priorities too.
Get ahead of the curve and invest in proper home ergonomics for your team. You’ll feel the benefits in the motivation and morale of the team and you’ll make the most of the new hybrid working world.