WDM Newsletter – July/August 2017

July 24, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 20/07/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

Impacting engagement across multiple cultures

WDMheader2017-07This month I have been looking at health and safety legislation in multiple territories. This conversation then extended into looking at other roles with multinational responsibility and thinking about how different organisations approach cultural diversity. It is hard enough to address all the issues affecting engagement in a single country, so overlaying cultural conflicts adds an order of magnitude to the challenge. This is especially so when the parent company has a very different national culture and assumes it can simply be overlaid on every other territory worldwide! Are you and your organisation especially good at both recognising and integrating cultural diversity – or is this a problem you are currently facing? I want to explore this further and welcome any contributions, questions or ideas. In the first instance, please email me to join the conversation.

Design: Jason Lansdale

rendezvousAs offices start to look like hotel lounges and hotel lounges become work hubs, specific themes and approaches emerge. New product concepts appear and, within weeks, every manufacturer has its own interpretation of the same idea! Once that has happened, it becomes a personal choice for style, quality and function.Rendezvous is my favourite product in its niche, offering a choice of high sitting or standing in a variety of configurations. For co-working and ABW – or just somewhere for a quiet cup of coffee – it is available to accommodate 4-12 people with a choice of screen heights and finishes. If you are thinking about extending your range of standing height work areas, especially in an agile office environment, this could be the ideal alternative, or complement, to sit-stand desks (see below).

Separating fact from fiction

sit-stand-multiIn May, I mentioned the current interest in my ‘Is it true what they say about Millennials?’ presentation and, since then, there have been several enquiries about my newly updated ‘Putting things in perspective’ sit-stand presentation. It is clear that many organisations, including some who are well advanced with a sit-stand implementation programme, are unsure about the use of sit-stand desks and the messages surrounding them. As Mark Eltringham says in his recent Workplace Matters interview (see below), we all need to be aware of a ‘fallacious and distorted narrative’. I agree! If you are looking for a one-hour session (as a seminar or webinar) that puts this narrative into perspective, please contact me.

Information on the move

workplace_mattersI am a podcast enthusiast: I find they are a valuable source of both entertainment and education. My latest discovery is Workplace Matters by Ian Ellison of 3edges. Addressing an enormous variety of subjects in workplace design, culture and engagement, Ian interviews thought leaders from a variety of backgrounds. The discussions are wide ranging and stimulating with lots of valuable ideas and references. A word of warning though! As I discovered when I was driving, you will probably need to listen a second time to take notes (and that is no bad thing). Find it on iTunes or Acast.

Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin July 2017

July 14, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 12/07/2017. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


My recent visit to Paris for the Préventica exhibition was an exhilarating experience but this was not because of the products on display. In the ergonomics section, I had seen them all before, either in the UK or at other international exhibitions.  The exhilaration came from the freshness and youth of the industry. [more]


demo_chair_stockWith our company year end just behind us, we are conscious of the need to update our demo stock and clear redundant samples. Chairs, in particular, seem to propagate in the warehouse! To create space and, perhaps, give you the chance to buy an excellent chair for your home, we have created this inventory.  Since mentioning this in my May eBulletin, we have added a few more to the list and dropped some prices. Warranty periods vary from product to product but all are outstanding value and several are even offered below our cost price.


3keyboards250pxLike buses, mini keyboards seem to arrive in batches. This month, we have three new products from three different manufacturers. Each has a very different evolutionary history and application. The new Bluetooth and wired Ultraboard from Bakker Elkhuizen has evolved from the highly successful Sboard/Saturnus which has been a mainstay of our portfolio for several years. The Balance keyboard from Contour complements their RollerMouse products exceptionally well and, finally, the new Wireless K360 from Logitech provides a quality, compact RF wireless product to fill the gap created since the demise of the Microsoft Arc. See them all here.


global_legislationA close friend and colleague has recently given me access to an outstanding document which outlines the legislation relating to occupational health and safety in 41 countries. This provides real insight into the diversity of statutory and legislative requirements. Did you know, for instance, that onsite workstation assessments are a requirement in countries like Singapore, Switzerland and South Africa, as well as the UK (and many others)? Or that, in China, personnel must be trained and pass a test in work safety before being ‘assigned to post’? If you are working in multiple markets and would like to discuss this further, please contact me.


assessorThank you to the many who replied to our recent request for UK workplace assessors. We have been delighted with both the number and quality of applicants. For the time being, we have almost completed the process but there are still a few UK areas where we need better cover. For these areas, we are now only considering ad hoc self-employed personnel but, if you are interested in joining our team on this basis, please send your CV to Heike Kluever-Littlewood.

Workplace Ergonomics – a Paris Perspective

July 11, 2017

Preventica2017My recent visit to Paris for the Preventica exhibition was an exhilarating experience but this was not because of the products on display. In the ergonomics section, I had seen them all before, either in the UK or at other international exhibitions.

The exhilaration came from the freshness and youth of the industry. I spent some time talking to one exhibitor who believes that France is 10 years behind the UK in terms of attitudes to, and understanding of, the benefits of ergonomics in the workplace. Despite this immaturity, some of the companies are already well-established: another exhibitor reminded me of a conversation we had 8 years ago when he had just set up his organisation.

I also found it entertaining to (privately) compare the exhibitors I saw with equivalent UK companies! Some come from a medical background, others are really focussed on customer service whilst others look to rapid growth and national coverage as fast as possible. This is an interesting challenge in France, which has a very similar population to the UK but more than 2.5 times the area. Others are looking to disrupt the existing occupational health workstation assessment model since this is currently very expensive for French employers.

This exhilaration reminded me that, in some areas of UK ergonomics, I think our level of development now complicates matters unnecessarily. Computer mice are a good example of this: I am quite envious of those markets where you can offer just a small selection of computer mice (which, between them, cover nearly all issues), instead of having to carry a wide portfolio of input devices to address every customer demand, belief, prejudice and expectation.

shutterstock_121706023_MAZEAt the same time, I know it is hard work to establish credibility and reputation in a new market. I am probably too long in the tooth to start that again! In a developing market, I would offer end users just one tip – beware of advertising disguised as advice!

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