Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin May 2020

May 13, 2020

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 13/05/2020. You can register here to receive them monthly.

RESILIENCE & AGILITY

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This month’s eBulletin follows on from April’s Home Working issue as we see the evolving landscape from a national, corporate and individual standpoint. I have outlined our view of the way employers are approaching the various issues and provided links to a selection of useful resources, as well as the products and services we offer. In the last month, we have made significant changes to how we operate in order to meet customer demands. This has resulted in new suppliers, new products and new logistics partners as we constantly seek new ways to meet the changing needs of our clients.

HOME WORKING EVOLVES

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Last month, I indicated that some clients were adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach to homeworker health whilst others were being much more proactive. Despite the lack of time to prepare, most organisations are finding that their enforced homeworking programme has been largely successful but this means everyone now needs to recognise that it is no longer a temporary solution. It is not going to be viable or even desirable to bring people into the office unnecessarily for several months so employers are creating a strategic sourcing plan for essential home worker equipment.

There is already a need to tackle pre-existing injuries and MSK issues. Now employers are realising they need to prevent further health impacts in domestic environments over which they have a duty of care but no direct control. Let us help you create the optimum homeworker support programme to future-proof your talent.

WORKPLACE CHANGES

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Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on May 10th, we are all being inundated with messages about safe travel and minimising risk in the workplace. Amongst the guidance I have found most useful, the government’s own information is a really good place to start, Nigel Oseland’s Workplace Trends piece encourages us to look at what we already know before reinventing the wheel and Peter Kinselley of Cardinus provides a good strategic overview.

The big questions, of course, are how many staff will actually be comfortable to return to an office and in what circumstances? Most of our clients expect to accommodate no more than a third to a half of their regular personnel in the workplace as long as social distancing exists in its current form. We see most employers developing Home Working and Workplace plans concurrently and providing physical separation tools as part of their approach to keeping their people safe.

WELLBEING

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The impact of home working and lockdown on the mental health of many workers has (rightly) received even more attention than that of physical health in recent weeks. As employers come to terms with all that is and has been happening, it is clear that a truly robust wellbeing programme is essential for every employer, large and small. Whilst some organisations have already mastered this, it takes very much more than an EAP and a rolling programme of monthly highlights.

Our conversations with employers and other interested parties suggest that many wellbeing programmes may be well-intentioned and enthusiastically promoted but lack focus or direction. It is essential to identify where the principal pressure points are and develop a responsive programme to ensure both effectiveness and return on investment. As I outlined in this blog, we have partnered with Champion Health to provide exactly this service. Find out more here.

FINANCE

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The plethora of government programmes and financial support packages are indicative of the commercial demands on employers in the current pandemic.

Whilst many furnishing programmes have been moth-balled or are being completely re-evaluated, other organisations see an empty office as an ideal time to carry out refurbishment or reconfiguration programmes. Where cashflow is a major consideration, asset finance can manage an immediate issue with a longer term solution.

If you completed a furniture project a short while ago and now need liquidity, it is even possible to sell and lease back your existing furniture. This is a topic for specialist providers so please request an introduction if you want to discuss it with our finance partner.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin April 2020

April 8, 2020

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 8/04/2020. You can register here to receive them monthly.

WORKING FROM HOME – A GLOBAL PREOCCUPATION

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Government guidance (or insistence) to work from home if possible makes this a significant topic across the globe. As you already know, there is endless information available through social media and, as always, the quality is variable. As a consumer, separating the valuable insights from the regurgitated press releases can be a time-consuming activity in itself. Equally, as an author, I try to offer useful content and get it heard above the noise. For this month’s newsletter, therefore, I have just written about what we know, what we are finding, what we have experienced and what we anticipate. Reporting is of little value without drawing conclusions or offering  suggestions so follow the links below to find out more.

WORKING FROM HOME – IMPACT ON PHYSICAL HEALTH

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The universal implications of COVID-19 are hard for any of us to grasp fully. In the workplace, we observe a domino effect with new demands appearing week by week. We are seeing employers sending people home to work in very large numbers. This is an inevitable response to government instructions but the needs and productivity of each homeworker are proving very variable.

Obviously, home working is not new and many employers have been developing home working capability as part of a broader Agile Working plan for some time. The differences currently are the pace, the scale and, most significantly, the lack of comprehensive preparation.

[read more on our blog page]

[read more on LinkedIn]

WORKING FROM HOME – IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH

stressed

Unusually, I have similar experience to the current lockdown.

I was staying with my brother in Houston, Texas when Hurricane Harvey landed in 2017. By the time I arrived, shops and restaurants had already closed and, by the following morning, only very large stores were open.

Within hours, supermarket shelves were bare and we were on an island about 3 miles in diameter. Flood water blocked roads in all directions. Thousands of people were stranded upstairs in their homes. The overwhelming power of water was in evidence everywhere and it was frustrating to feel so helpless.

[read more on our blog page]

[read more on LinkedIn]

CHAMPION HEALTH

adult education: Diverse mature students working in their college library

As mentioned in one of the blogs above, Champion Health is now a collaboration partner.

I shall be posting more about them in due course but I wanted to draw your specific attention to their Online Mental Health Training which is now available completely free during the COVID-19 pandemic. In less than an hour, participants can learn about self-care and healthy working at home; boosting resilience; understanding stress, anxiety and depression and supporting others.

For the longer term, their unique digital survey tool reviews physical, mental and lifestyle health and provides anonymised data that enables employers to focus resources on the areas that really need attention, ensuring maximum benefit for staff and maximum ROI for the organisation.

WEBINAR TIPS FOR HOMEWORKERS

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I seem to have received more webinar invitations in the last week than in the last three months. Interestingly, only one invitation offered a choice of times. Maybe this is just my interpretation, but there seems to be a widespread assumption that we are all sitting at home staring out of the window and waiting for something to do!

We have decided to take a different approach so our ‘Tips for Homeworkers’ has been recorded by Stuart Entwistle, our Training Manager.

It is available here to view whenever it suits you.

GLOBAL RESEARCH

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Workplace Evolutionaries, a cross-disciplinary global community, is using this unique opportunity to carry out worldwide research about the work-from-home (WFH) experience.

The research objectives include finding out what is and isn’t working, the potential impact of WFH on employers, employees and the environment and the likely impact of COVID-19 on future workplace designs and practices.

You can find out more about the survey and participation, either as an individual or as an organisation, from this download or go straight to the questions here.


VIRTUAL MEETINGS – ENHANCING THE EXPERIENCE

April 7, 2020

This article is a spoof! It was created as an April Fools’ Day joke on April 1st, 2020

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We have been working with organisations deploying Agile Working programmes for several years. Obviously, in the current pandemic, thousands of employers have become more or less agile almost overnight. One of the key issues addressing communications with, and between, home workers is the need to maintain communications and minimise isolation (ironic in a national state of self-isolation).

The need for more use of video instead of email and phone calls is widely recommended and this is easily done with Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Google Hangouts all readily available. In particular, Zoom meetings have appeared as a leading, easy-to-deploy technology that even the Cabinet have mastered!

As a partial home worker for many years, I have always wondered whether more might be done to enhance the sense of community and connection when working remotely. A chance encounter with application developer, Nevjerojatna Priča, a while ago led to some exciting developments which are still only at beta stage but I felt now would be a suitable time to sense check our work so far.

My discussions with Nev started around what attributes we associate with those we know. Clearly, if we have shared workspace with them in the past, we know what they look like and how they sound but is there anything else that you specifically associate with them? This led us to thinking about smell. Do they use a particular cologne or perfume? Do they bring in home baked cakes? Do they smoke? Do you work with them in a particular location or maybe go for a regular coffee in your favourite coffee shop? Do you go to the pub with them? If you stop to think about it, there may be a location-related aroma you associate with them.

So how do your colleagues think you smell? What scent or aroma encapsulates you (or would you like to be associated with)?

After intense development work, none of which I understand, Nev has developed the Olfactory App, or OlfApp, which enables you to capture your particular smell/aroma/scent. This then creates a piece of code – an olfactory avatar – which you can embed in certain applications. Beta tests only work in WhatsApp at the moment but we hope to have more soon.

If you would like to be part of Nev’s beta test team, these tips will improve effectiveness: For perfumes and colognes, choose citrus rather than musk tones. If you use Brut, you may erase all your contacts. If you choose newly-baked bread, it should not be sliced. Coffee should be beans or ground, not instant. If you want to use a particular pub or coffee shop, you will obviously have to wait.

You can get the app here.

 

 

 

All trademarks acknowledged


Osmond Ergonomics special eBulletin March 2020

April 7, 2020

This article was originally emailed as an extra interim eBulletin at 11:30 on 25/03/2020. You can register here to receive them monthly.

COVID-19: HOME WORKING TIPS

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We have never seen a crisis like the current pandemic so, hopefully, you will find my collected thoughts about moving to home working – and doing so at short notice – beneficial. Hopefully, frequent home workers will have already discovered many of the tips here and incorporated them into their daily work routine. For those who are new to the experience (and those who need reminding), here are lots of ideas to keep you healthy (physically and mentally). [more]

WELLBEING FOR SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES

SMEwellbeingRunning an SME is a demanding job. Fulfilling some or all of the roles of CEO, Finance, Quality, Estates, Facilities, Occupational Health, Health & Safety, Fire Officer, First Aider, Transport Manager and Housekeeper fills a long day! However, as the business starts to grow, it is possible to delegate some (and, eventually, most) of this responsibility. Even so, it might be forgiven if staff wellbeing slips down the daily agenda. Fortunately, the culture of most SMEs supports many elements of wellbeing by default (and probably by accident in the first instance). [more]

CIEHF CONFERENCE

ciehf2020This year, the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors conference also incorporates the international ODAM (Organisational Design & Management) symposium. As with many similar events, it will no longer happen face-to-face. Instead, it will be curated online. There are moves afoot to encourage more workplace-related ergonomics at annual conferences and I am due to be one of the participants for an Agile Working ODAM session. This was to have been a panel discussion but, at the time of writing, the revised format is in the process of finalisation.

WORKPLACE TRENDS

WorkplaceTrendsThe WT programme covers a rolling series of topical issues in workplace design. Last month, I attended the Climate Change and the Workplace seminar. This was primarily about the urgent issues for builders, developers, owners and occupiers in addressing the national and regional Net Zero Carbon commitments. The target for the UK as a whole is 2050 but some local authorities have set more urgent objectives. Whilst the really major challenges come in the building construction, the targets are so demanding that every element needs thorough consideration. Careful thought about the operational energy footprint of the furniture, fixtures and fittings should therefore be a priority as well.

HEALTH & WELLBEING @ WORK

healthandwellbeingBy the time you read this, we shall either be in the process of exhibiting at, or will have already attended this event. Although the exhibition & conference name has not changed since inception, last year saw a significant increase in both exhibitors and visitors who wanted to place a specific focus on Wellbeing. We expect that to continue. With that in mind, this is the ideal event for us to explore our first conversations with smaller employers about that focus. We are also bringing a greater emphasis on sustainability as climate change becomes a central theme once again.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin March 2020

March 11, 2020

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 11/03/2020. You can register here to receive them monthly.

WELLBEING FOR SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES

HeaderImage03-2020

Running an SME is a demanding job. Fulfilling some or all of the roles of CEO, Finance, Quality, Estates, Facilities, Occupational Health, Health & Safety, Fire Officer, First Aider, Transport Manager and Housekeeper fills a long day! However, as the business starts to grow, it is possible to delegate some (and, eventually, most) of this responsibility. Even so, it might be forgiven if staff wellbeing slips down the daily agenda. Fortunately, the culture of most SMEs supports many elements of wellbeing by default (and probably by accident in the first instance). [more]

CIEHF CONFERENCE

ciehf2020This year, the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors conference also hosts the international ODAM (Organisational Design & Management) symposium at the Crowne Plaza, Stratford-on-Avon on 27-29 April. I first attended a conference at this hotel over 40 years ago (in a different industry and it was a Hilton in those days) so it’s an old favourite. There are moves afoot to encourage more workplace-related ergonomics at the conference and I am due to be one of the panellists for an Agile Working ODAM session. However, at the time of writing, I can’t find it on the agenda!

WORKPLACE TRENDS

WorkplaceTrendsThe WT programme covers a rolling series of topical issues in workplace design. Last month, I attended the Climate Change and the Workplace seminar. This was primarily about the urgent issues for builders, developers, owners and occupiers in addressing the national and regional Net Zero Carbon commitments. The target for the UK as a whole is 2050 but some local authorities have set more urgent objectives. Whilst the really major challenges come in the building construction, the targets are so demanding that every element needs thorough consideration. Careful thought about the operational energy footprint of the furniture, fixtures and fittings should therefore be a priority as well.

HEALTH & WELLBEING @ WORK

healthandwellbeingBy the time you read this, we shall either be in the process of exhibiting at, or will have already attended this event. Although the exhibition & conference name has not changed since inception, last year saw a significant increase in both exhibitors and visitors who wanted to place a specific focus on Wellbeing. We expect that to continue. With that in mind, this is the ideal event for us to explore our first conversations with smaller employers about that focus. We are also bringing a greater emphasis on sustainability as climate change becomes a central theme once again.


Health & Wellbeing @ Work 2020

March 6, 2020

4H Continuous Improvement 1000px with logoWe are back at Health & Wellbeing at Work for 2020. If you are attending, please stop by Stand 73. We have plenty to show you.

As you will see from the image above, we have added Healthy Planet to our existing Healthy branding. We have been quietly beavering away on our sustainability for some while but now it’s time to start shouting about it. Reflecting this, we shall be showing a remanufactured RH Logic 400 alongside the new Logic chair. We shall also be showing a sit-stand desk with a heated top! This provides local warmth directly to the user and consumes 90% less energy than the fan heaters that seem to crop up in almost every office. We shall also be delighted to tell you about our plans for Healthy Planet scores for all our products.

Simultaneously, we shall be launching our SME Service. After more than 25 years of dealing primarily with multi-national companies and government organisations, we are now offering our vast knowledge to Small & Medium Enterprises. If you run a business, work or have clients in this sector, ask us about the many ways we can help you improve staff wellbeing.

To address your wellbeing at the event, take a break for 10 minutes on our stand for a free massage. We shall be offering this throughout both days. We expect a big demand so you can secure a slot now by pre-booking here.

In case, you don’t know about it, the organisers have created an app for the event this year. Find it by searching for Health and Wellbeing @ Work in the Apple App store or Google Play store.

Finally, we shall have a little gift for you! This year, it follows our sustainability theme and, as always, it’s eminently useful.

Don’t forget – Stand 73!


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin February 2020

February 12, 2020

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 12/02/2020. You can register here to receive them monthly.

RULA IS BACK ONLINE!

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After a few months of intensive development work and lots of really valuable suggestions from our very supportive review guinea pigs, the new online version of RULA (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment) is now live and ready to use. Obviously, all the calculations and outcomes are exactly as the original, validated tool developed by Lynn McAtamney and Nigel Corlett. However, the format has been updated for the 21st Century. It’s a responsive design so works on your phone and tablet as well as computers. Thanks to the excellent feedback from our review panel, it also includes several new features, including a graphical pdf report which can be downloaded for your own use. Take a look for yourself here. It’s free!

HEALTH AND WELLBEING @ WORK

H&W2020We shall be back at the NEC on March 10th and 11th. Come and see us on Stand 73 in Hall 8. This year we shall be demonstrating sustainable ergonomics with a selection of remanufactured products as well as some new additions to our portfolio (including the new RH Logic). We shall also be launching our SME Pack: with over 25 years’ experience of supporting government organisations and large employers, we are now sharing that knowledge through a portfolio of services to allow dynamic smaller businesses to actively promote and support staff wellbeing without needing all the resources of larger employers.

FREE MASSAGE

To support your personal wellbeing whilst at the NEC, we shall also be providing free massage on Stand 73 at Health & Wellbeing at Work. Hot from a premium spa in the New Forest, our very experienced masseuse will release your stress and tension (or at least make a start!) in a free 10-15 minute session. You can take a chance about availability on arrival or book a timed appointment now. To be sure she is available just for you, simply follow this link, to select your time and date. See you there!

BAKKER ELKHUIZEN ULTRABOARD 960

ultraboard960We have sold thousands of mini keyboards over the years. Many of these have been for laptop users wanting something compact to carry around but the other major benefit of these devices is the reduced load on the right shoulder by bringing the mouse closer. For those, who want this benefit but need to use the number keys on a frequent basis, we are pleased to announce the new Ultraboard 960 from Bakker Elkhuizen. This full-feature keyboard is significantly narrower than a standard full-size keyboard and has many design benefits. It even fits in most laptop bags! Find out more from the 30 second video here.

PHYSIO FIRST CONFERENCE

PFconference2020We shall be in Nottingham to exhibit at this event on April 24th and 25th. We are also one of the sponsors. At the conference, we shall be demonstrating to private practice physiotherapists the commercial opportunities available in the workplace with a little training and planning. If you are a Physio First member attending, please come and talk to us. If you are a private practice professional offering physio, chiropractic, osteopathy or massage services and you want to know more about how you could offer a more comprehensive service to your existing patients/clients, give us a call.


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