WDM Newsletter – August/September 2016

August 19, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 18/08/2016. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

Enhancing performance with training and equipment


After an amazing London 2012, I thought the Rio Olympics would be disappointing. On the contrary, many events – and especially the cycling – have held me spellbound. Whilst it may take several more four-year-periods before I finally understand the rules of the Omnium, the various cycling events have illustrated the importance of co-ordinated planning, preparation, training and equipment. The big contrast between the Olympics and the workplace is that employers try to optimise the performance of their people on a constant and ongoing basis, rather than for a few minutes every four years. Plus this optimisation must be achieved without access to millions of pounds of lottery funding! We know more about the workplace and its people than ever before but, in a constantly changing landscape, integrating the knowledge and maximising the contribution of different disciplines can be difficult. If you’re planning a move or refit or starting an Agile Working programme, we would be delighted to discuss the issues you are facing. Even if we don’t know all the answers, we will know someone who does!

Defining your criteria

Osmond_Ergonomics_WDM_AUG_2016_image_2Recent refresher training at Camira Fabrics reminded me how many different ways there are to choose fabrics. Whilst most of us probably start with colour, pattern and texture, others will be in roles demanding a more pragmatic approach that considers durability or flame resistance. For many employers, sustainability is essential so the use of recycled materials or bast (plant) fibre will be a priority (although wool is, of course, the ultimate renewable). Add to the mix the business of farming government-licensed hemp or addressing the idiosyncrasies of buying jute bags from multi-national coffee companies and the back story to the fabric is almost as fascinating as its impact on space in which it is deployed!

When the way it looks is not enough


For over twenty years, much of my business has been about finding specific chairs for individuals with musculo-skeletal problems, where comfort and support are crucial. As the workplace changes, we are being asked to provide all manner of seating for a variety of applications and modes of use. We score all our products in the ergonomics sector and we are now looking at a parallel system for other seating, considering the type of use and for how long. Whilst seating for a reception area may only be used for a few minutes, what about the canteen chairs where people use their tablet for a couple of hours at a time or the soft seating where people use their laptop all morning? Is this a concern for you or is appearance more important? Please let me know what you think.

Is this the next big tech change in the workplace?

Osmond_Ergonomics_WDM_AUG_2016_image_4Virtual and augmented reality tools are already used in envisaging design and simulating environments as well as in gaming. As Pokemon Go takes the gaming world by storm, our good friends at Bakker Elkhuizen have been thinking about whether these technologies could actually become part of our daily working lives. Would you be happy to wear a VR Headset at home, for example, and meet your work colleagues in a ‘virtual office’? Whilst the idea may be abhorrent to some, there will be others who regard it as ‘the next best thing to being there’. After all, many of us now willingly attend webinars rather than events in person. Please contact me if you want to explore this further.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin August 2016

August 11, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 10/08/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


image1 - OE EB AUG 2016

We have been discussing this topic with clients, specifically around the question ‘must they be medically qualified?’. In recent years, particularly in the public sector, there has been a tendency to include DSE (Display Screen Equipment) workstation assessments in an occupational health (OH) contract because it is believed that an OH background qualifies an assessor to understand the medical requirements and therefore, on this basis alone, to provide the best advice. I disagree! For my thinking and further observations – and to join in the discussion, please click here.


image2 OE EB AUG 2016Our Motus sit-stand desk continues to grow in popularity, offering outstanding quality and functionality at a very keen price. Our ‘standard’ frame colour is now RAL9006 silver to match the metalwork of many other fixed desk manufacturers. We also have three-leg frame configurations available from our warehouse for those needing corner or cockpit desk shapes. In addition to standard items available from stock, we can also supply white frames and face-to-face sit-stand benching systems. With the growing demand for sit-stand to be used alongside traditional sitting desks, we are now offering a furniture matching service by supplying Motus with the same worktops used on your fixed height furniture. On a lighter note, did you see our spoof videos announcing the latest delivery?


image3 OE EB AUG 2016

Our online catalogue at ergonomics.co.uk now accepts product reviews. We have been thinking about how to offer this facility for some time and are delighted that it is finally in place. We have been frantically adding the option to each product page and most, if not all, pages will be enabled by the time you receive this eBulletin. If you have recently made a purchase or have a particular product you would like to comment on, please go to the relevant product page. Alternatively, here are a few direct links to best-selling products:
FlexDesk 630 Adapt 600 Chair Series FlexTop Laptop Stand  |  Motus Sit-Stand Desk


image4 OE EB AUG 2016As you might expect, we are currently reviewing product pricing as a result of the ongoing state of the Pound against the Euro and Dollar. We have consulted widely with our supply partners within the industry and everyone is monitoring the situation closely! Changes will vary but expect 10% increases on some products with the first increases from September 1st, 2016. It is worth remembering that many of our products have had no price increase for more than five years. As always, we shall do everything possible to accommodate existing enquiries and potential projects so please discuss your forward plans with us as soon as possible. Remember also, as mentioned last month, that we can usually help with a leasing plan that releases cash and often has tax benefits.


image5 OE EB AUG 2016Watching world-class athletes in action at the Rio Olympics brings to mind the RH brand message: ‘Designed for Human Performance’. For me, the men’s and women’s cycling road races demonstrate the importance of the correct equipment and the crucial link between humans and the tools they work with. Recent research at Chalmers University of Technology demonstrated how the RH Logic 400 improved working conditions and reduced tension and pain. Contact us for a copy of the infographic summarising the research findings. You can experience the value of a dynamic chair yourself by taking advantage of the RH trial offer. You can find more information here.

What Makes a Good DSE Assessor?

August 8, 2016

Health & SafetyI have been discussing this topic with clients, specifically around the question ‘must they be medically qualified?’. In recent years, particularly in the public sector, there has been a tendency to include DSE (Display Screen Equipment) workstation assessments in an occupational health (OH) contract because it is believed that an OH background qualifies an assessor to understand the medical requirements and, therefore, to provide the best advice.

I disagree!

Closeup portrait of a happy senior man working on a computer

Whilst the medical background is almost certainly an asset, an understanding of available products is essential. This is not just about knowing that X is a good chair or Y is a good mouse but knowing how to specify a particular variant of an appropriate product and ’what works with what’. As OH contract fees are squeezed and training is neglected, an OH qualification is simply not enough. The steady stream of orders we receive for wrongly specified chairs, incompatible mice or unviable product combinations is proof of this.

Talking to friends and competitors in the industry, all ergo product suppliers have the same experience. By contrast, some of my own staff (and those of my competitors) have no medical background but an enormous range of assessment experience, training and product knowledge.

In a bid to address this ongoing issue, we regularly offer free product advice and training to OH companies and individuals but not enough take it up.

Do you agree? Are you an OH professional who doesn’t need training? Or an OH professional  who would dearly love your employer to provide more product knowledge? Or an experienced assessor with no formal medical background? Please continue the discussion by adding your comments below.

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