Emma Work ‘Colleague of the Future’ was developed by Fellowes - the healthy workspace experts - to show how office workers could look in 20 years’ time if we continue to work with inadequately set-up workstations, poor posture and minimal movement.
Emma was an overnight success. Her story went viral on social media and she even made a personal appearance on the Jonathan Ross Show.
Fast forward to the new way of working imposed on us since the arrival of COVID-19, and the ailments that Emma was experiencing have become even more relevant to the vast number of homeworkers. Indeed, the issues she faces may even have been accelerated through the challenges of working in a domestic environment.
To help highlight the need for healthier working from home, Emma is back on the scene – only, this time, she’s swapped her royal blue shift dress for easy-fit leisurewear and fluffy grey slippers.
Since March last year, the vast majority of UK office workers have been forced to work from home; and new research from Fellowes1 reveals that this is having a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of desk-based employees.
Fellowes’ latest research into the new way of working has identified that makeshift home workstations are putting people’s physical health at risk, as less than half (49%) of those interviewed did not have a proper work set-up, whilst 29% felt they needed better back support, 27% were after a new chair, and a quarter of all respondents wished they could spend less time sitting down.
Kizzy Augustin, Health & Safety Partner at Russell Cooke Solicitors, says: “Employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers. The coronavirus pandemic has meant more people are now working from home - a trend we are likely to see continue. This means an increase in flexible or hybrid working between office and home, so employers, need to take responsibility, be proactive and work collaboratively, to continually review and adapt working practices for their employees.”
Desire to work from home in the future
Despite the common perception that home working means a better work/life balance, nearly half (47%) said they are working longer hours when working from home, compared to in the office, with over 1 in 4 (27%) unable to separate their home life from their work.
Ergonomist and physiotherapy expert, Emma Crumpton, says: Many people have had to make changes to their usual working practices and have set up workstations at home as a response to the Pandemic. These measures are likely to be a feature of working life for the foreseeable future. It is vital for our health and wellbeing, as well as our productivity and job satisfaction that adequate assessment, equipment provision and adjustments to work practices and workstations are made to reflect these changes and reduce associated risks.
Jeremy Cooper, UK Marketing Manager, Workplace Health Division at Fellowes Brands UK, says: “It is essential that employers identify both the physical and emotional needs of their staff. We need to go beyond the office and embrace a work environment that is adaptable and supportive for all ways of working. At YPO you’ll find an extensive range of Fellowes ergonomic products, including back supports, wrist supports, laptop risers and sit-stand desk converters, to help maintain a healthy, happy and productive workplace, whether in the office or in the home.”
It’s too late for Emma, but it is not for your employees. Whether you work from home or in the office, avoid looking like Emma.
There are many things that can be done to take better care of your employees’ health at work. Ensuring your employees’ workstations are properly set up with the right ergonomic accessories will also ensure that they are working with the correct posture, and thereby helping to reduce the risk of work-related musculoskeletal injuries and other illnesses.
YPO has a vast range of competitively priced resources to support those who are working from home. Whether you are looking for ergonomic resources such as footrests, wrist/back supports and laptop risers or IT equipment such as laptops and tablets, check out the YPO range here to see how we can help.