Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin November 2021

November 10, 2021

This article was originally emailed as issue 144 of our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 10/11/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.

HeaderImage11-2021

HOMEWORKING – WHAT IS EVERYBODY ELSE DOING NOW?

Back in May, I presented a webinar that addressed the question What is everybody else doing? It was in response to a question we were being asked constantly.

Six months later, it is worth asking the same question about homeworking because the short answer, in most cases, is nothing like enough. Many employers now focus on preparing the workplace for January 2022, rather than September/October 2021 as most had originally planned. In the meantime, we are seeing countless homeworking setups that are simply inadequate. Take into account the fact that most of the homes we see are where employers have, at least, provided a chair and you will understand that the poor settings we encounter are probably amongst the better setups. However, we can only do what we are asked and we see lots of locations where no assessment has been completed, or it has been done virtually and issues have been missed, or the review has been done from a constrained perspective (e.g. we will just give them a better chair). [more]

ER60 NOM – SAME NUMBER – NEW VAN!

ER60NOM

We have just replaced our largest van, complete with the updated message to reflect the changing nature of workplace design and workforce activity. What has not changed is the registration number: ER60NOM. The new graphics were added a week after the van was delivered so Martin Webb, one of our very experienced installation drivers, was White Van Man for a week.

Interestingly, he observed that more customers commented on the registration number on the unmarked van than had ever done on his previous vinyl-wrapped vehicles!

SOUTHAMPTON BUSINESS EXPO

southampton_expo

It is a very long time since we participated in a face-to-face exhibition so we are making quite a low profile return! Rather than one of the big London or NEC events, your next chance to talk to us in person is at the Southampton Business Expo on November 25th.

We have adapted and extended our services considerably since Covid began and the workplace is a very different environment. If you are in the area, come and visit Stand 46 to find out more about what we offer from my colleague, Neil Hurst. Exhibition details and free registration can be found here.

POSTURE GUIDANCE ON YOUR MOBILE

mobile_posture

It is also some time since I have drawn specific attention to this so here is a reminder that one of our key resources works really well on your mobile telephone. It is therefore very useful for assessors, trainers and others needing an instant, portable (and free!) tool to demonstrate workstation setup.

Just go to ergoergo.info on your mobile and it will redirect you to the animated Posture Guidance on our main website. From here, you can choose a  variety of animations with explanatory text. We update and evolve the design as equipment changes and quite a lot has happened since we launched the original site in 2004.

STRETCHING GUIDE PROVING POPULAR

stretching

We have been running a successful campaign on LinkedIn and Facebook to promote our free Stretching Exercises. This has been driven by two key considerations. First, we recognise that the ergonomics, posture and wellbeing issues that we take for granted are not at all obvious to many other organisations and individuals.

Secondly, we know that there are thousands (maybe millions) of people struggling with inadequate homeworking arrangements. This simple resource is an easy way to spread the word and help those who are struggling. Find out more and feel free to share the information here.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin October 2021

October 14, 2021

This article was originally emailed as issue 143 of our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 13/10/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.

Lion,In,London,Zoo

WE TREAT ANIMALS BETTER THAN OFFICE WORKERS

This title is rather an oversimplification of Nigel Oseland’s new book but it’s a great way to start an animated discussion! Covid has prompted widespread conversations about what we need to provide for our personnel to thrive but, despite the earnest debate and the invention of new terminology like hybrid and blended working, I see signs of many organisations reverting to the pre-pandemic status quo. In ‘Beyond the Workplace Zoo: Humanising the Office’, Nigel had created a really thought-provoking review of what’s wrong with much Corporate Real Estate thinking and what could be done to put it right. Despite its demanding, research-based origins, it’s an easy, stimulating read and Nigel distils complex thinking into simple, comprehensible language. Find out more about the book and check out the comments from several industry thought leaders on Amazon.

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

Customer,Experience,Concept,,Best,Excellent,Services,For,Satisfaction,Present,By

Over the last few weeks, we have introduced a number of initiatives to make it easier for customers to indicate their experience when dealing with us. This has resulted in a flurry of feedback and it is great to see customer comments both through our own in-house survey and through Trustpilot.

It is especially gratifying when clients mention individual staff by name for going above and beyond to provide great service. You will start to see some of these quotes on our main website and in our social media, as well as directly on Trustpilot.

DSE ASSESSOR TRAINING

dseassessment4

Following my recent observations about the backlog of workstation assessments, many employers will be finding that they need to train new or refresh existing assessors.

As mentioned previously, our one-day virtual DSE Assessor training course gets excellent reviews and we have now set the diary into the New Year. Find out more here and take advantage of Early Bird prices.

WORKSPACE DESIGN SHOW

workspace_design

A brand new workplace interiors event comes to London next month. The Workspace Design Show takes place on November 4th – 5th at the Business Design Centre.

Showcasing the latest products from over 70 manufacturers, it is the UK’s new exhibition focussed purely on Workspace Design and includes thought leadership presentations from the UK’s top architects, designers and corporates. Find out more and register here.

SUPPLIES & PRICING

Retail,Warehouse,Full,Of,Shelves,With,Goods,In,Cardboard,Boxes,

In your personal life, you will have already experienced shortages and price rises. In the commercial market, we are being squeezed on all sides by raw material price rises, long-distance container shipping costs, local logistics and transport issues and personnel shortages.

Against this backdrop, we are seeing growing numbers of large employers preparing for large-scale roll-outs of homeworker chairs, desks and accessories. If you are now reviewing your homeworker plans, I would urge you to start the supplier conversation immediately because I believe the situation will get worse before it gets better. Delivery lead times are already being extended by most manufacturers and component supplies will also impact availability sooner rather than later.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin September 2021

September 15, 2021

This article was originally emailed as issue 142 of our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 08/09/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.

HeaderImage09-2021

MONITOR ARMS FOR HOMEWORKERS

Although we have been talking about it for months, it finally seems that employers are formalising their hybrid working plans, even if it is still on a ‘suck it and see’ basis for the foreseeable future. I have already talked and written at length about the big issues so, this month, I thought I would highlight one of those simple ‘I never thought of that’ topics.

Whilst many employers have provided an additional monitor for their home laptop users, far fewer have considered a monitor arm on which to mount it. This cost-effective accessory provides adjustability (height, depth, angle) to improve ergonomics and posture but one of its greatest benefits in a domestic environment is that it creates space. As a commodity, space is usually in short supply for most homeworkers so cantilevering your monitor frees desktop real estate. If you are not using a monitor arm, just look at your screen and think about how much less cluttered your desk would be if the screen stand was not sitting on it!

Don’t forget that they can be retro-fitted too. (Just make sure your monitor has a VESA mount). Our web page shows a handful of straightforward choices or contact us to discuss numerous other options including multi-screen, landscape/portrait or alternative mounting choices.

4Cs WEBINAR

4CsMy most recent ‘big issues’ webinar addressed the four work types: Communication, Collaboration, Contemplation and Concentration. For some reason, attendance was unusually low so perhaps we just didn’t advertise it enough. Feedback from attendees was very favourable and the (40 minute) video is available here immediately or from our Webinars on Demand page within the next couple of days. If you were unable to attend or just hadn’t heard about it, here is an ideal opportunity to see and hear my take on what workplace designers need to be thinking about. As always, I have taken a pragmatic approach to try and take a topic which can be very complicated and explain it as simply as possible. If you have any questions after viewing or want to discuss it further, just get in touch.

CONFERENCE: A NEW WORLD OF WORK

new_wt_imageAs regular readers will know, I am a great fan of the Workplace Trends events and have already mentioned their October conference in the past. With the full speaker list now confirmed, there has been a slight repositioning and, as you may have noticed, a new title. The programme includes a diverse mix of speakers from organisations like Google, Vodafone, Gensler and Tetra Pak. The one thing they have in common is that they are all at the top of their game. You can attend virtually or in person in Central London on Wednesday October 13th. More details and registration here.

CIEHF PUBLICATIONS & EVENTS

CIEHF-logo-square-hi-resWe are proud to be a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors. Their output, especially since the outbreak of Covid, has been prodigious and shows no sign of losing pace. For many people, ergonomics has long been associated only with office chairs and car dashboards. To challenge this, a key element of the CIEHF’s current programme is to raise awareness of the countless fields where ergonomics and human factors make key contributions to design, safety, comfort and wellbeing. You can scroll through their free white papers here and find upcoming events here. Better still, follow them on LinkedIn to keep abreast of everything that is happening!

NATIONAL FITNESS DAY

nationalfitnessdayWednesday September 22nd is UK National Fitness Day. Find out more here or search #fitnessday on your favourite social media channel for ideas and inspiration. If you are a gym member, you will probably know about this already but it is also a great opportunity to kick start your fitness campaign if you have been less active. There are events and opportunities all over the country and there is bound to be something to suit your current level of fitness (or unfitness!).

COMING SOON – PRODUCT REVIEW OPPORTUNITES

coming_soonAre you an existing customer? Interested in entering our monthly prize draw by writing a product review? We are finalising our plans for this ongoing campaign. Full details next month, so watch this space!


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin August 2021

August 11, 2021

This article was originally emailed as issue 141 of our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 11/08/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.

Wooden,Game,Strategy,,Businessman,Hand,Stopping,Falling,Wooden,Dominoes,Effect

TIME FOR THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF THE DSE ASSESSMENT

In 2019, there was a lot of debate about the relevance (or otherwise) of the DSE Assessment process. It was reasoned that the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations, last updated in 2002, had been overtaken by agile working patterns and technology, so were no longer fit for purpose. Along with many others, I argued that this was not the case. [more]

HEALTHY WORKPLACE – LATEST PRODUCTS

HW_latest_productsIn last month’s eBulletin, I mentioned how furniture manufacturers have been particularly busy creating new designs and concepts over the last year. To reflect this, we have updated the Workplace section of our website to include a Latest Products page. As employers explore new ways to facilitate interactions in the office, there are many products to consider. We shall be adding stylish and innovative ideas to this list frequently so it is worth checking regularly to see what is new.

CLERKENWELL OPEN

clerkenwell_openThere is a new competitor to the Clerkenwell Design Week event series. Clerkenwell Open takes place on September 9th and 10th. The event offers a specifically curated showroom trail for visitors to attend workshops, seminars and view a variety of furniture showrooms in the Clerkenwell area. I shall be there both days so let me know if you would like to meet up.

CIEHF – CHILDREN’S ERGONOMICS

childrens_ergonomicsHealthy and Happy Home Learning, one of the latest titles from the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors, is a really useful guide for every parent with school-age children. Whilst it may have been inspired by the issues identified in home schooling, it goes much further and addresses the physical, mental and social health of children from a range of perspectives. Topics include posture, movement, mental wellbeing and environmental factors with simple suggestions and valuable links to lots of other publications. Download your own free copy here.

WORKPLACE INSIGHT PODCASTS

workplace_insightIn the age of TikTok, Teams and Zoom, it seems so retro to be listening to a broadcast that is ‘sound only’! However, I have recently rediscovered my love of the podcast, especially now that I am starting to do some driving for work once again. Largely responsible for this renewed enthusiasm is the Workplace Insight series which uses an exquisitely simple format: really knowledgeable, interesting people talking about what they know! New instalments are not added that often but they all stand the test of time. Listen to the pre-Covid ones for some insightful observations as well as the latest recordings about wellbeing and workplace transformation.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin July 2021

July 14, 2021

This article was originally emailed as issue 140 of our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 14/07/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.

HeaderImage07-2021

AIRCHARGE+ DESK BOOKING

Most organisations are looking at ways to provide an easy desk booking system in a hybrid working environment. Even those who had agile working programmes pre-pandemic are reviewing all their processes to ensure minimum friction. One of my personal highlights of CDW Unlocked (see below) was the discovery of the new Aircharge+, the ‘smart, safe digital marker for today’s workplace’. Combining an online booking page with desk markers, inductive phone (and tablet) charging and a number of additional benefits, this is exceptionally easy to implement and outstanding value. The beneficial pricing makes it suitable for organisations of any size and the exceptional value is because the technology has already been fully developed and tested for a global hospitality chain so the development and support costs have been very low. See the explanatory video here or contact us for further information.

NEW ON ERGONOMICS.CO.UK

web_updateWe have been tracking user behaviour on our primary website since we changed platform last year and we have now made some changes to reflect what we have learned. In addition, our site at homeworker.uk.com has been merged into the primary ergonomics site, creating a ‘Homeworker powered by Osmond Ergonomics’ section. The topline menu still gives a dropdown route to most sections but the new links now provide better direct routes to product groups. Take a look here.

 

CDW UNLOCKED

cdw_unlockedBoth figuratively and actually, this event was, unfortunately, a washout. Attendance was very low. Whether this was because of a lack of marketing, the weather, the pandemic or two Euro semi-final football matches in the same week, we shall probably never know. Suffice to say, I was the only visitor present during half my showroom visits. On the positive side, this meant I could attend showrooms for which I had not pre-booked and, once inside, showroom personnel had plenty of time to talk. It is very clear that the manufacturing industry has been exceptionally busy over the last several months and there are lots of new products and ideas. Whether your post-pandemic office plan is all-in, all-out or hybrid, there is plenty to discuss about how workplace design can support culture, engagement, wellbeing and productivity. For a face-to-face or virtual chat, get in touch or check in to my 4Cs webinar below.

NEW WEBINAR SUBJECTS

Capture (1)We have added three new topics to our forthcoming free webinar programme. Following the success of our Posture Awareness for Homeworkers (which will return later in the year and is still available for in-house commercial delivery), we have added two further Posture Awareness sessions about Laboratory work and Vehicles. In addition, I shall be delivering a variant of the session I did in Clerkenwell at CDW Unlocked: Communication, Collaboration, Concentration & Contemplation – the where and how of Hybrid Working. Find out more and book any or all of these here.

LINKEDIN PROFILE

linkedinIf you are a regular user, you may already know that it is now possible to add a half minute cover story video to your LinkedIn profile page. I have been experimenting with this and my first video (or second, or third, depending when you look!) is now live. I am interested to find out how people respond to this new facility so, if you can spare 30 seconds to watch the video and about the same again to respond to the poll here, I shall be most grateful. Please feel free to comment too!


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin June 2021

June 9, 2021

This article was originally emailed as issue 139 of our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 09/06/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.

HeaderImage06-2021

CDW UNLOCKED

Clerkenwell in London, home to many furniture manufacturers, has been slowly coming back to life as showrooms become available to view by appointment. We come one step closer to normality when CDW Unlocked, a ‘mini Clerkenwell Design Week’, takes place from 6th to 8th July. This will feature open house showrooms throughout the area, accompanied by a variety of events and presentations. Plans are still being finalised so keep an eye on the programme page to see what is happening. I shall be speaking at Frem Group on Tuesday 6th. Follow me on LinkedIn for details as soon as they are finalised.

BAKKER ELKHUIZEN CAMPAIGN

bakkerFollowing the success of their ‘One Year of Homeworking’ campaign in March and April, our friends at Bakker Elkhuizen are about to launch the next phase of their thought leadership campaign. This time it is about Hybrid Working.

As employers explore how to blend the many choices available to their personnel, it is important to take a holistic view that considers culture, wellbeing and productivity as well as use of real estate. For their latest white papers and other resources, watch out for our social media links or explore their online knowledge centre.

HYBRID WORKING – WHAT IS EVERYBODY ELSE DOING?

what_is_everybody_elseOur webinar in May attracted our largest audience ever. It is clear that many organisations are still thinking about how to deploy their workforce and optimise their real estate. The five most common business models appear to be – As before – Turbocharged ABW – Clubhouse – Hub & Spoke – No office. What might you do?

We have been listening to what the global experts are saying and the webinar was my chance to share their insights. If you missed it, you can find the video and PowerPoint presentation (with lots of useful hyperlinks) here.

NATIONAL GROWING FOR WELLBEING WEEK

June-eBulletin (1)After a miserably cold and wet Spring, our garden is suddenly full of new shoots, buds and flowers. Even some of the plants that we thought had been killed by frost have sprung into life!

One enormous personal benefit of homeworking has been seeing the seasons unfold in a way I have never observed (or paid proper attention to) before. I have spoken and written about biophilia many times so I love the whole idea of National Growing for Wellbeing Week. I even find the simple act of looking at plants is uplifting!

HYBRID WORKING – HYPE OR HERE TO STAY?

Hybrid,Working,2021,Sign,In,A,Downtown,City,SettingRegular readers will know how highly I value the Workplace Trends events. They bring together global workplace experts to present and discuss research, experience and expectations for the future of workplace. After a fascinating and inspiring Research Summit in April this year, the next event will be both virtual and in-person in London on October 13th, 2021 (subject, as always, to any government restrictions at the time).

The programme is not yet finalised but I am confident it will deliver yet again. To make sure you are kept informed, register your interest here.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin May 2021

May 12, 2021

This article was originally emailed as issue 138 of our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 12/05/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.

Handsome,Young,Man,Working,At,Home,With,A,Laptop,With

ALL IN, ALL OUT OR HYBRID – WHAT’S IT GOING TO BE?

Organisations of all sizes are exploring plans for some form of return to the office (or not!). This is a demanding time for senior managers and, indeed, for many employees but it is also an outstanding opportunity for planners, designers and facilitators. Clearly, there is no simple solution and every organisation, department and individual will have different needs and insights. Reviewing what works best for your culture, activities, technology, location and demographics will inform your decisions but, inevitably, there may be compromises where operational need restricts your choices. If you want people back, how will you design that Magnetic Office to attract them? Do you need less space? How will you fill the space? Are you providing enough support for your colleagues? How will you communicate to a disparate workforce and how will you maintain (or improve) productivity? I don’t pretend to have all the answers but I have been listening to a lot of very knowledgeable, experienced people. During May, I am creating a series of blogs to examine some of the issues and, as mentioned last month, my free webinar on May 19th gives some insights, tips and observations to address the question ‘What is everyone else doing?

VIRTUAL CONFERENCES

Global,Communication,Network,Concept.,Video,Conference.,Telemeeting.,Flash,News.During one week in April, I attended two conferences that demonstrated how effective a virtual format can be when well executed. Most notable at each event was the diversity and global reach of the speaker panel, the topics and the audience. Removing the restriction of a physical location really extends the potential and influence of an event in a dramatic way.

Over three days, the CIEHF Ergonomics & Human Factors Conference covered a broad gamut of human factors issues, from the involvement of HF professionals in guiding the NHS pandemic response to exploring the future of autonomous systems. In a single day, the Workplace Trends Research Summit covered data-driven topics from the 4 Day Working Week to Workplace Design for a Neurodiverse Workplace.  Both were educational, invigorating – and exhausting! Contact me if you would like to chat about either.

MORE PRICE INCREASES

containersWhen I mentioned price rises in February, I expected the topic to occur again but I didn’t expect it to be quite so soon! Four of our manufacturers have now issued their second price list in 2021. Increases are averaging 4-5% on top of the rises already implemented within the last five months.

Post-Brexit administration has contributed to this but global shortages of raw materials have also played a significant part. In addition, container transport costs from the Far East have increased by more than 400%. If you are considering any orders or tenders later this year, I strongly advise contacting us to see how we can help fend off unwanted increases. Simply contact the Customer Service team or your Customer Development Manager.

MENTAL HEALTH

Woman,Feeling,Stressed,Because,Of,The,Coronavirus,Outbreak.,Mental,Health,Mental Health Awareness Week follows on closely from Stress Awareness Month. We all now understand the importance of good mental health. In particular, the last prolonged lockdown has put us all to the test and anecdotal homeworker feedback, alongside numerous studies, have brought this clearly into focus.

As a business, we have always maintained the close connection between mental and physical health and we have created a combination of in-house and partner expertise to provide a holistic framework for this. To discuss how we can help with an enterprise approach to all wellbeing issues, contact the Customer Service team or follow a link on our Partnership Services page.

OUR OWN PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

Office,With,Modern,Devices,And,Digital,Datas,On,Hologram,ScreensDuring May, we shall be returning everyone to the office at least some of the time. Our internal research makes interesting reading. Of those currently homeworking full-time, nobody wants to return to the office permanently! Of the staff (including logistics personnel) who had experienced some musculoskeletal discomfort in the last month, half said it had got better and the remainder said it was about the same. 12.5% felt that their mental health had deteriorated in the last six months.

Obviously, we continue to support those who need more help. Our next trial phase will involve nearly all knowledge workers returning to the office at least one day a week. Thereafter, we shall make changes according to feedback. We are also evolving the environments we provide within the office. Also, please note that our Monthly Outlook briefings for all personnel will move to bimonthly so the office will remain closed until 10am on the third Monday of every other month.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin April 2021

April 14, 2021

This article was originally emailed as issue 137 of our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 14/04/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.

Cool,Group,Of,People,,Woman,And,Man,Holding,Hand,Near

HYBRID WORKING – WHAT IS EVERYBODY ELSE DOING?

As the dependence on homeworking starts to diminish, every employer is reviewing policies and practices concerning their knowledge workers. Hybrid working, agile working, blended working: whatever you choose to call it, you will need a clearly defined strategy that takes a holistic approach. We know that some people love home working and some hate it. Some employers want everyone back in the office and some organisations are offering a perpetual homeworking opportunity. What works best for your organisation will be dependent on your culture, activities, technology, location and demographics. We don’t pretend to know all the answers – or even all the questions (yet) – but one question that keeps cropping up is ‘What is everybody else doing?’. I have therefore scheduled a short webinar to outline all that I have learned from conversations with clients and prospects, webinars, conferences, social media and the press over the last twelve months. For a mixture of insights, tips and observations, please join me at lunchtime on Wednesday May 19th, 2021.

DIGITAL EYE STRAIN

Young,Woman,Seated,At,Workplace,Take,Break,Distracted,From,WorkLast year, a research study of 2,000 UK adults found that their average screen time was over 13 hours per day! We hear widespread stories of people spending more time at their computer when homeworking so this duration is no surprise when you also factor in smartphone and tablet use, together with TV in the evening. Equally unsurprising is the fact that we are encountering growing numbers of people reporting symptoms of eye strain. Whilst more than one in five people have reported a deterioration in their eyesight, the connection is not always obvious to the layman because the symptoms may be headaches, neck strain and other musculoskeletal issues caused by vision-related poor posture. The College of Optometrists have coined the term ‘Coronavision’.

We are exploring additional services to address this problem so I would love to hear from you about your own (personal or professional) experience.  Email me your own thoughts or comment directly on my LinkedIn posting here.

CONTOUR ROLLERMOUSE MOBILE

rollermouse_mobile

Since we introduced the separate Product Radar emails back in September 2020, I don’t often profile new products in this eBulletin. However, like the last one I mentioned, the RollerMouse Mobile is one I am really excited about. Having launched the RollerMouse concept in the UK nearly twenty years ago, it is fair to say that the mobile version has been quite a long time coming! However, it has been worth the wait.

With roller technology akin to the RollerMouse Re:d, combined with wired, dongle or Bluetooth connectivity, this really does ‘tick all the boxes’. It’s beautifully made and one of the highest scoring products we have ever put through our WoW Factor review. Our first stock is due in May.

MONTHLY OUTLOOK

monthly_outlookAs you may have discovered in March, we are now closed until 10:00am on the third Monday of each month. This gives us the opportunity to bring the whole team together (still virtually at the moment) for our ‘Monthly Outlook’ when I provide an update about the business trading activities. We discuss what is happening in the business and beyond, general trends, our plans and expectations plus everyone’s contribution. It’s a great forum and, as an experiment for the next few months, we have added a further dimension:

Many people say that virtual meetings miss out on those chats we all have, before and after, when we are getting coffee, finding a seat or just catching up with friends and colleagues. To address this, people are dropped into a virtual room on arrival. Each room contain 3-4 people who then get 10 minutes to chat about whatever they want (preferably not work-related). We do the same for 10 minutes at the end of the meeting. I will report on how this goes in due course!

GROWTH OF MUSCULOSKELETAL

MSK_issuesThere is no doubt that musculoskeletal (MSK) problems are on the rise. Prolonged periods of homeworking without proper assessment, adequate training or appropriate equipment are taking their toll. Many employers have simply not addressed these issues adequately and employees are now paying the price. We know that mental and physical health are interconnected and, whilst there has been a lot of publicity (rightly) about the mental health issues, attention to physical health matters has been lower profile.

Worryingly, we are also hearing anecdotal evidence that employees are failing to flag their own discomfort at a time of uncertainty and potential job insecurity.  Ergonomics and health professionals have been warning of this for some time but it is clear the message is often not getting through. We are trying to help with our free webinars and we are offering some great deals on training courses.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin March 2021

March 10, 2021

This article was originally emailed as issue 136 of our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 10/03/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.

Look,Forward,And,Move,To,The,Futuer,,Start,To,New

CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM – TIME TO PLAN?

With a return to school, the immediate opportunity for limited outside interaction and the prospect of further easing soon, many of us now feel that we are starting to ‘get our lives back’. Alongside these personal feelings of cautious optimism, businesses are reviewing future plans. Organisations large and small are reassessing their homeworker arrangements, thinking about how the office space will be used and taking a long, hard look at their real estate.

Many employees have adapted well to homeworking whilst others have struggled. Undoubtedly, the end of home schooling has dramatically reduced pressure for some households but there are many with inadequate space, insufficient support from their employer and mental or physical health issues that need prompt attention. Your organisation may not knowingly be employing L.O.S.E.R.S. (Laptop On Sofa, Employment Rights Suspended) but now is undoubtedly the time to be checking and responding to the issues that come to light. We can help with these issues in both proactive and reactive ways.

Once again, we are also having conversations with employers about how to use their office space in both the short and long term. The reality is that none of us fully understands how our needs will evolve so flexibility is the key. It is probably safe to say that we shall ‘need fewer desks’ but, beyond that, the key is to think about your organisational culture and how your people work, think and interact. We have talked about the 4Cs approach for several years and it is as relevant now as it ever was. Contact us if you would like to discuss these topics further. For another perspective on this complex topic, my colleague, Alice, has also written a blog of her own thinking about a partial return to the office.

COMPACT HOMEWORKER DESKS

compact_homeworkerOne of the many things we have learned from our extensive homeworker experience is that space is nearly always an issue! We have been looking at this problem for some time and, finally, I am pleased to say that we have both fixed height and sit-stand solutions. We have decided on 900mm x 650mm as a compact worktop size that can offer reasonable ergonomics if well managed and, especially, if combined with a monitor arm and/or laptop stand.

By using a single leg frame, our Motus Monorise sit-stand desk is also very competitively priced. Our Goal Post fixed frame desk is well made in the UK and very easy to assemble. Click here for our brochure (which links directly to the relevant product pages on our website).

VIRTUAL DSE ASSESSOR TRAINING

Focused,African,Student,Wear,Headphones,Studying,On-line,Do,Exercise,UsingAs well as our Open House events which have been so well received, we are now rolling out our virtual DSE Assessor training to our corporate clients with equal success. As you’ve probably heard me say before, the IIRSM rated this one of the best courses the reviewer had ever seen when we received our Approved Training status from them and the course has now also been accredited by the CIEHF.

We are offering our Open House courses monthly with a few Supersaver tickets available at £20 or £70 each over the next quarter. Check here to see what is available or contact Stuart Entwistle, our Training Manager, for corporate enquiries.

HEALTH & WELLBEING CONFERENCE

healthwellbeinglogoAt this time of year, we would normally be meeting many of our industry and professional contacts and friends at the NEC for the annual conference and exhibition. Indeed, you may remember bumping elbows with us on our stand or in the aisles last year, only days before the first lockdown.

For obvious reasons it is a virtual event for 2021 so we shall not be exhibiting. However, I shall be attending as a delegate so let me know if you will also be online and perhaps we can arrange a virtual coffee (I can always send you a Zoom invitation)!

TRUST PILOT

TrustpilotWe get lots of excellent feedback from customers and, when we occasionally screw up, we are quick to address our mistakes and do everything possible to put matters right. Most of the feedback we receive comes direct to us by email, phone calls or LiveChat and we have an internal awards system to recognise our team members when they provide great customer service.

We have never particularly promoted Trustpilot in the past but our Marketing Coordinator tells me that good feedback from one of the established platforms helps our social media presence and search engine optimisation so I am doing so now! If you have a few minutes to comment on your experience of dealing with us, either on an ongoing basis or for a specific transaction, please do so here. Many thanks.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin February 2021

February 10, 2021

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 10/02/2021. You can register here to receive them monthly.

HeaderImage02-2021

THE PROTEAN PROJECT

As you are probably aware, we have been very busy behind the scenes since the first UK appearance of COVID-19. Once we had arranged for all but the Logistics team to become homeworkers (within a couple of days), we set about a rolling programme of change and evolution. Key stepping stones have been the transfer of our website to a new platform and the creation of an additional consumer website for homeworkers. We redecorated our main office, complete with a fabulous biophilic image along the whole of the end wall. We have revised all our training to be suitable for in-person or virtual delivery. We have extended our product portfolio and logistics capability to meet the needs of homeworkers, especially the demand for prompt delivery, and we have extended our Partnership Services to meet the changing workplace landscape. We have created a small, full-time marketing team and supported all our homeworkers with appropriate furniture and equipment (as you would expect!), together with a new wellbeing programme.

Now comes the big challenge! Named The Protean Project (after Proteus, the mythological Greek sea god), we have embarked on a full cloud-based integration of all our software systems to streamline our processes, enhance our communications, improve response times and extend transparency. We fully recognise the scale of this endeavour and have arranged for Steve Gilday, our Logistics Manager, to step out of his day-to-day role so that he can focus entirely on the management of this project. It will be some months before the first benefits of this new platform become evident but we look forward to keeping you posted!

CIEHF CONFERENCE

ciehf_conference_2021

The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors was one of the first organisations to hold a very successful virtual conference in 2020. Since that time, its reputation and relevance have been significantly enhanced with papers, research, guidance and events that directly relate to the dramatic and unprecedented changes in our daily lives, whether at work, at home or at the (often blurred) interface between the two.

The 2021 conference on April 19th – 21st provides three days of varied and stimulating content with a global array of speakers addressing many of those changes, including a complete stream entitled ‘Perspectives on the Pandemic: shaping the way ahead’. Find out more and register here.

PRODUCT & COMPONENT SUPPLY & PRICING ISSUES

Freight,Transportation.,Warehouse,Worker,Are,Holding,Clipboard,With,Control,Loading

I want to make you aware that the pandemic is beginning to impact our supply chain and matters are further compounded by Brexit-related import confusion. Manufacturers are now experiencing disruption due to high levels of absenteeism (as high as 20%) as a result of sickness and self-isolation. This is increasing lead times. With regard to Brexit, documentation errors that used to be easily corrected are now being rejected outright and some of our suppliers are having goods turned back. An example of how this can happen was a recent delivery which was delayed when the lorry broke down. A replacement vehicle was sourced promptly but it took 24 hours just to update the documents with the registration number of the alternative vehicle! These issues and more admin are also increasing shipping costs. Some of these rises are significant.

None of the problems are of our making and we are doing everything possible, including adjusting stock levels, to minimise the impact. If you have any particular concerns, our Customer Service team or your account manager will be happy to advise about specific issues.

IIRSM RISK EXCELLENCE AWARDS

IIRSMawards2021logo

As part of our ongoing relationship with IIRSM, we are pleased to encourage nominations for their 2021 Awards, celebrating risk excellence – protecting people, reputation and profits.

Open to members and non-members alike, the awards recognise innovative individuals, teams and organisations who are responsible for implementing best practice in managing risks and opportunities. They are independent and free to enter. Information about the awards, categories and application process can be found here. The application deadline is February 19th, 2021.

RECONNECTION DAY

reconnection

If you tried to contact us on Monday February 8th, I apologise for the delayed response but we had a really good reason! (We did provide advanced notice in my last eBulletin, through social media and on our web site). We had closed the business for the whole day to reconnect the team and it proved a very worthwhile exercise. You may know of my obsession with retaining our DNA – what makes us different from our competitors – and I am determined to ensure this does not become diluted. Prolonged homeworking was bound to have had some impact and we also have a number of staff who have joined us since the first lockdown.

We took this opportunity to get everyone together, give them a chance to meet and chat (albeit virtually), split them up into various small groups and let them explore personality traits and human interactions. This was all facilitated by our friends at The Colour Works to great effect. If you would like to know more about what we did and what we plan to do to maintain our DNA, I would be happy to chat.


%d bloggers like this: