An agreed and recognized legacy to the pandemic is hybrid working. For the vast majority of employees, five days a week in the office is over, with employee choice of how to split their time between home and office set to be standard. Revolut and Spotify, for example, both recently enshrined hybrid working policies, and many more are set to follow.
Wayne Mason is B2B lead for UK & Ireland at Logitech.
This raises a question over the working set up that employees will spend the majority of their time using. Whilst in the office, it is on employers to ensure workers are provided with an adequate working set up that means they are well equipped to work comfortably and productively. There currently isn’t the same duty for equipping their set up at home. Armed with the bare essentials of a laptop and headset at the start of last year’s lockdown, it was largely up to workers to fashion a desk set-up and make themselves comfortable.
Now we’re further into our hybrid working journey, it’s clear many employees could spend much of their working week at home. But if office workers spend around 1,700 hours a year in front of a screen for work purposes, then there’s a significant amount of time where, without the correct setup, they could be damaging their bodies and wellbeing.
Working smart, working safe – good ergonomics is good economics
There is a direct link between comfort and productivity as when we feel better, we work better. Aches and pains are distracting, and being distracted leads to a drop in productivity - the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation found that wrist pain, caused by an ill-fitting mouse, can contribute to a 15% loss in productivity. Accordingly, for employers looking to get the best out of their staff, it’s well worth the investment to provide them with work tools that keep them as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.
Choosing mice and keyboards that have ergonomic influences in their design go a long way to ensuring this. Consider this: the average office worker moves their mouse an average of 100 feet per working day. That’s 6 miles every year, going up to 17 miles for a heavy user, with annual average keystrokes ranging between 2-3 million. We use our mouse and keyboard a lot, and if they’re bad fitting, they’ll cause a lot of strain over time.
Employees should therefore be equipped with office tools that strike the right balance of efficiency, performance and usability – tools that ultimately compliment the natural body formation. For mice, they should consider something that molds to the hand, supporting the thumb and wrist. For the 12% in the UK already suffering from daily pains in the wrist and shoulder, vertical and trackball mice should be considered, as they help to reduce pronation and the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. There are options for keyboards to be split, which allow arms and wrists to rest naturally and reduce stress on neck and shoulder muscles too.
Using video to tackle loneliness, and boost social sensitivity & collective intelligence
There are many benefits to working from home. Few of us would say they miss the commute, and while homeschooling has been very challenging, it’s also given parents more time with their children. But for those working at home alone, or working remotely for long stints without coming into the office, it can start to feel isolating and lonely.
When it comes to maintaining a solid social connection remotely, email and instant messaging aren’t enough. Humans are social creatures by nature, and we’re programmed to react to facial expressions and body language. Video is therefore a great tool for facilitating this body language communication, and helping to tackle any feelings of loneliness. Simply making eye contact and having what feels like a face-to-face conversation can have a great impact on an employee’s sense of inclusion, greatly improving mood and engagement.
Having happy and engaged employees in turn leads to higher social sensitivity and group intelligence, both of which in turn will have a positive effect on productivity (and thus the bottom line). Employees who have friends at the office say they are at least four times happier at work than those who don’t, and companies with highly engaged workforces are said to outperform by 147% earnings per share.
A healthy worker = a healthy business
The benefits of having a healthy and happy workforce are numerous. Alongside simply being good for morale and job satisfaction, it is also good for productivity and idea generation, which in turn translates into business success.
Want a piece of this business success? Make sure you’re providing for the new video-first hybrid workforce, equipping employees with the human-centered and science-driven ergonomic office tools that make them feel better, so they do better.
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