In 2019 only 30% of UK employees worked from home, according to the latest research by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Now, however, a huge number of employees are finding themselves suddenly working alone for the first time due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. They are now having to deal with additional pressures and changing circumstances, and working with confidential information away from the workplace.
During this difficult time, employer support could make all the difference to how people, and their organisations, fare in the long term. When equipping people to work at home, their health, safety and wellbeing matters, just as it does in the office. Therefore, you should ensure your employees’ workstations are fit for purpose so that they can work effectively and effortlessly. Here are some things you should consider.
1. Can you make calls comfortably?
- For videoconferencing and ‘phone calls, headsets should be used. Cradling a ‘phone between head and shoulder is not comfortable, and can lead to musculoskeletal problems.
- Headsets can also cancel out background noise and help users more easily hear conversation between team members.
2. Do you need to print or share documents?
- Compact, portable, all-in-one printers are ideal for the home office environment. These can provide fast, high quality prints and wireless printing from a PC, tablet or smartphone.
- Printers with scanning capability will enable users to digitally forward paperwork to customers or colleagues.
- For security, encrypted flash and USB drives will help to protect digital files and documents.
- A desk-side, cross-cut or micro cut shredder can securely dispose of paperwork when it is no longer needed; this is essential under GDPR if paperwork includes personal data.
3. Are you sitting properly?
- Working all day at a kitchen table, or on a settee, is unlikely to provide enough support for the lower back.
- Musculoskeletal problems caused over this time could lead to employees needing to take periods off work in the future.
- An adjustable office chair with good back support will help employees work in the right posture, and avoid backache.
4. Can you work easily with your keyboard?
- If people have taken laptops home to work on, they will need a separate keyboard, mouse and wrist rest in order to be able to work ergonomically with their arms in the best position.
5. Is your screen at the right height?
- Another aspect of safe desk work is sitting with our eyes level with the top of the monitor screen. Most people need a monitor stand or laptop riser to be able to do this.
6. Are your legs and feet supported?
- If the user feels pressure on the back of their legs, or their feet cannot rest on the floor, they need a footrest. An ergonomic footrest should move backwards and forwards and support the whole foot.
7. Have you got stationery?
- Don’t forget all the desk accessories that people need to keep on top of conversations, and for taking notes and messages. These include pens, notebooks, post-it notes and a desk tidy to keep everything to hand.
8. Would you appreciate any other help?
- With people facing shortages of some items at home, employers could send small sustenance packs as a show of support to remote workers:
- Coffee, tea and soft drinks.
- Snacks, biscuits and sweets.
- Toilet roll.
- Hand wash/sanitiser.
Reduce work from home stress and boost productivity
If you manage a team of people working from home they probably need more tools than just a computer, desk and chair. By helping employees get their work from home environment right, you can reduce remote working stress, and keep productivity high. Good equipment helps people work better, and feel supported, and ensures that employers meet duty of care requirements.
1. Good lighting
- Good lighting is part and parcel of a safe working environment. Employers should find out if each person has adequate lighting in their workspace.
- A flexible desk lamp could be the answer. This will let the user illuminate their work at any angle, and can stand on the desk or be clamped to it. Make sure that you supply these with a set of compatible bulbs.
2. Speedy work
- For anyone required to produce a high quantity of text quickly, a dictation machine is ideal.
- The speed advantages of dictating over typing are significant. On a traditional keyboard, most people type at about 30 words a minute, but speech can be about 142 words per minute.
- Together with speech-to-text software, a dictation machine can help produce documents and reports much faster than would normally be possible.
3. Extension cables
- Can they access the electricity supply in order to set their monitor, hard drive, desk side shredder and printer exactly where they need them for ease of access and safe working?
- If their arrangement is less than ideal, an extension cable will help everything be where it should be.
- You may need to supply cable tidies and ties to go with any extra cabling, to make sure all cables are securely fixed down and do not present a trip hazard.
4. Visual engagement
- Videoconferencing is often much better for teamwork and engagement than an audio call; it helps people see each other, and feel less distanced, and ensures they stay focused on the meeting.
- If users don’t have a webcam as part of their PC, a separate HD webcam is an an affordable and easy way of helping people to connect.
5. Keeping clean
- Computer cleaning is vital for good hygiene, and the care of company equipment, but not everyone will have the right cleaning products to hand.
- A computer cleaning kit will give people everything they need to ensure that the keys, screen and chassis of their machine stay hygienic. These kits, typically, include an air duster, screen cleaning fluid, wet/dry sachets and absorbent cleaning wipes.
6. Batteries not included
- People away from the workplace may not be able to easily get hold of the right batteries for any wireless equipment, so ensure they have a ready supply.
VOW Wholesale is here to help
- Many dealers have increased the proportion of their business going through our WRAPIDE direct consumer delivery service, and this is something that we encourage you to consider.
- As well as reducing the number of potential contact points, it is also an efficient and timely process.
- We have adequate resource to increase this service.
- Should you wish to discuss this with us, please don’t hesitate to contact your VOW Wholesale account contact.
- Increasing our purchase of high-demand products to maintain continuity of supply for our customers.
- Constant monitoring of our total stock-holding.
- Regular contact with key suppliers to identify any product shortages.
- Source alternative products where we foresee shortages.
- To enable our resellers to drive sales, and maintain proactive communication with their customers during this testing period, we are offering FREE access to the full myMarketing suite for new subscribers for the month of April.
- myMarketing Campaigns are ready to send to your customers – they include a professionally created PDF flyer, responsive HTML template, web banners and social media content. Please make sure you activate the following:
- Home Delivery Campaign
- Home Schooling Campaign
We hope to add a new campaign every day this week, so please keep logging in to find the latest relevant campaigns to boost your marketing activities.
If you have any queries or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your VOW Wholesale account manager.