A brand-new study focusing on the posture habits of employees who work from home has uncovered some surprising truths.
Whilst before we’ve revealed the shocking extent of how musculoskeletal disorders have been costing UK businesses almost £154 million each year, new research suggests that the workplace isn’t the only place causing potential posture problems.
The UK office items supplier Euroffice recently created a poll which studied the posture habits and working conditions of 2,400 home office workers.
Collecting the views and opinions of workers who carried out tasks from the comfort of their home for more than 1 day per week (between January and April 2019), they were able to determine that current home working posture habits may be a cause of concern for employers.
Home Working Posture Habits – The Key Stats
Some of the key stats from the survey were that:
• 23% of home workers admitted to mostly working from their kitchen table.
• 52% of employers haven’t conducted basic Health & Safety or Display Screen Equipment checks for their staff who work from home.
• 51% of home office workers are aware that their workspace is not correctly set up to support their posture.
• 36% of staff working from home are fearful of asking their employers to help with optimizing their workspace for correct posture in case they are told they are told not to work from home anymore.
• 68% of home working staff incorrectly assumed that it is only their responsibility to provide suitable Display Screen Equipment.
Along with this, respondents were asked on how they would rate their posture habits when working and what the correct guidelines are, after only 48% said they were aware of maintaining a correct posture position.
41% then described their working posture as ‘good’, 32% said that their posture was ‘okay’ but 26% declared their working posture as likely to be ‘terrible’.
Who Should Be Responsible for Home Worker Posture Habits?
Responding on the alarming findings from the study, David Bryant from Euroffice comments:
“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, but also workers themselves seem to be willfully neglecting their own health.”
So, in reflection of the study and Bryant’s comments, are home workers solely responsible for ensuring they don’t fall into poor posture habits?
According to guidelines set out by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), employers also need to shoulder part of the blame for not carrying out the necessary checks on home working setups.
Part of the statement reads:
“Employers have a duty of care for all their employees, and the requirement 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”
Our Final Thoughts
This research demonstrates that poor posture habits are an issue which will only continue to grow for home workers if a compromise isn’t made between employees and employers on ensuring the correct checks and procedures are carried out on potential home working spaces.
For companies and businesses, more will need to be done to ensure that home workers are being treated just as traditional office workers are in terms of having the correct procedures and policies in place.
At the same time workers do also need to get over the mental barrier of not feeling confident enough/afraid to discuss their current home working setup with their employers, as incorrect posture habits will only continue to cause more avoidable injuries, taking a hit on worker wellbeing and damaging business productivity.