Remote working shouldn't mean backache and poor productivity among your staff! Setting up on the edge of the table or sitting on the sofa all day is unacceptable. That said, it can be hard for some people to set up a suitable workspace at home.
Providing the best possible WFH conditions and making sure your staff have a proper set-up is the newest challenge for employers to overcome. As much to ensure your staff's health and wellbeing as to establish an exciting and productive work arrangement at your company. As part of your Quality of Life at Work (From Home), here are some tips for your staff to feel happy and healthy at work, even remotely!
1) Share best practices
Providing access to a good working environment is essential to secure an efficient WFH policy in the long-term. The company should provide staff with every opportunity to set up a workspace where they feel comfortable and productive, whether they're working from home on a full-time or part-time basis.
Educate your staff about the importance of a good set-up for work by producing pamphlets with tips and best practices to help all your WFH colleagues set up their space and improve their comfort. What advice should you give your staff? Follow the guide.
Choose the right spot
Location, location, location. Choose a quiet spot to help you focus. Create a space devoted to work, so you want a closed room where you can focus completely on the task at hand, create a better work-life balance and disconnect more easily.
Ideally, choose a light spot near a window as daylight boosts motivation and has a positive effect on mood. If your colleagues have a creative job then encourage them to surround themselves with inspirational items and pictures to fuel their creativity.
Maintain a good posture
Provide advice about how to maintain a good posture to avoid your staff having any WFH-related physical issues (visual or muscular). Start off with screen position: a bad neck or back appears quickly so lift the screen to the same height as the chair to keep the joints nimble.
But it won't work without good posture: sit up straight on a chair, preferably with 5 wheels for improved comfort.
A double screen or a screen riser significantly improves the maintenance of maintenance of a good posture
Last but not least, encourage your staff to move every 30 minutes. Sitting for long periods of time puts pressure on the discs. This causes muscle pain in the back. So don't forget to tell your staff: move and change posture often.
Here's an idea to try: encourage them to have quick meetings (15-30 minutes) outside on the phone so everyone can stretch their legs.
2) Provide the equipment required
Whether remote working or not, the idea is to provide staff with the same standard of comfort they have in the office to ensure good productivity all day long and prevent physical issues. But your staff may not have the right equipment at home and some end up working on their sofa or (worse still!) their bed... The long-term negative effects are inevitable. Recent studies have actually found that RSI (repetitive strain injury) accounts for over 85% of occupational illnesses. So an appropriate remote workspace is non-negotiable. Provide your staff with the right equipment to suit their requirements and roles.
Here are some essential items to put at the top of your list:
- Ergonomic chair
- Desk lamp
- Laptop or desktop computer
- Second screen if necessary
- Stationery (notebooks, notepads, pens, calendars etc.)
- And how about plants? Their natural calm is a stress-buster
But how about budget management?
You could outline an individual budget for choosing and installing the equipment. That way all staff get the right equipment for them. Staff may end up keeping some of these fixtures (table, chair etc.) once they leave the company. That's why it's best for the company to pay for up to 50% of it.
3) Give them the choice
WFH obviously makes you think of working from home.
Remote working can be lonely but this sense of solitude can make staff feel isolated and missing social ties. That's why some employers provide their staff with access to coworking spaces. That way they address their staff's need to get out and see other people or even get together with colleagues for a day to work on a project.
Assessfirst, a company where all employees WFH full-time, has created an individual annual budget so teams can work in coworking spaces or get together several times a year. That way everyone can work the best way for them.
Reaching out to staff, supporting them mentally, financially and materially are essential to securing your colleagues' health, wellbeing, productivity and concentration. The main thing is to check in with your staff on a regular basis to see how they feel, what they need and provide them with support.