Are you sitting comfortably?

Published: 25 October 2019
Published: 25 October 2019

In amongst all the trendy images that we see of remote working, flexible working, and hotdesking, one thing that seems to have been forgotten is the good old fashioned “this is the correct way to sit at your desks” image.

Which begs the question – are you sitting comfortably?

I was out at one of our clients this week and came across this poster in the kitchen, a reminder to all staff about how to sit correctly at their desk.

Which got me thinking. Whilst you may think its health and safety gone mad, it’s actually a real-life compliance issue for all businesses. How are we supporting the physical wellbeing of our remote workers, such as:

The salesperson, working from their car
The home worker with their laptop perched atop their knee in front of Bargain Hunt
The flexible worker, who pops into the office every now and then (“Oh! I thought you’d left!”) with a desk chair and nothing else

We can put a human on the moon… but can we get one to sit at a desk correctly?

The digital age is well and truly upon us.

And how do I know this, you may ask. Because I type this article from my kitchen table, hunched over like I should be ringing the bells in Notre Dame. I’ll also upload it our website from the same spot. And then I may relocate and share it across my digital channels from my den. Sorry, home office.

So, see! It’s the future!

Now a days we have the luxury of being what we want (I’ll be identifying as a spoon today), doing what we want (I will watch Bargain Hunt at 11:30pm on a school night) and being able to work from where we want (I had to shoehorn it in somehow) – but just because we can do all these things, does it mean we should do all of these things?

Whilst I could be breaching professional conduct to comment on the first two points, I can definitely comment on the third one.

Yes, many businesses now offer flexible working solutions, but with that comes responsibility for employees to ensure their employees are suitably cared for. As an employer, you need to assess the risks associated with using DSE equipment in a practical way and take note of any special needs of individual staff.

The Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations

There are legal regulations to ensure employers comply with Health and Safety regulations that protect workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time.

The law applies if employees are, for example:

At a fixed workstation
Mobile workers
Home workers
Hot-desking (workers should carry out a basic risk assessment if they change desks regularly)

And I hear you – “Blimey another compliance issue?!” – but just like GDPR assessments, implementing the correct procedures, addressing any issues, and mitigating the risk of any breaches not only ensures you remain compliant, but actually supports your employees in the work place, which is something that should be at the top of any businesses priority list.

If you’d like any more information about the regulations, from an employee or employer perspective, please follow the links below.

Working with display screen equipment (DSE)

Homeworkers – Guidance for employers on health and safety

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