Advice for employers and staff as UK homeworking levels double
WHILE homeworking was once seen as a treat or a rarity, figures show that there are now 9.9 million people working from home in the UK – double the pre-Covid number.
A recent report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) analysed homeworking levels before and after the pandemic, revealing that almost a third of workers are now based at home.
Between October to December 2019 and January to March 2022, homeworking in the UK more than doubled, increasing by 108.8 per cent (up 5.2 million), from 14.5 per cent (4.7 million) to 30.3 per cent (9.9 million).
The number of homeworkers has risen by more than 50 per cent in all UK regions.
Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment says now is as important as ever to ensure that employees are supported in their home/hybrid working role, with employers maintaining a duty of care to their team.
Managing director Nel Woolcott said: “With evidence that more and more of us are working from home on a permanent or hybrid basis, it is hugely important that we have the fundamentals right to be able to work safely, healthily and productively from our remote location.
“Having a properly organised and comfortable workspace is paramount, and employers should ensure that their staff are working in suitable conditions. Employees should carry out a simple working from home MOT, looking at areas that would benefit from some attention to help with their overall wellbeing.”
- Check the screen is well positioned and properly adjusted – it is estimated that one in four users move the screen closer to focus on their work. The height of the screen should be roughly at eye level, the computer monitor should be at or slightly below your eye level
- Make sure lighting conditions are suitable and try and get as much natural light into your work area as possible. Adjust your screen lighting/brightness if possible.
- Blink! We naturally blink about 20 times every minute, but when focusing on a screen this can drop by as much as half. This means your eyes are at much greater risk of drying out when working on the computer.
- Make sure your screen is clean to help reduce glare.
- Arthritis Research UK suggests that as many as one in six people in the UK suffer from back pain, so work at a desk or table with adequate knee/foot clearance so that you can sit/stand close to your laptop.
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse with your laptop if you have them and position them directly in front of you within easy reach.
- If sitting, use an adjustable chair. Use a rolled-up hand towel for extra lower back support, if needed. If your chair is too low, sit on a cushion to raise your seat height.
- Take care of your physical and mental wellbeing. Remember to take regular breaks, incorporating some activity like walking into your day if you can.
- Keep talking! While working remotely can be productive and efficient, for some it can also be lonely – so remember to keep the communication channels between teams and colleagues open.
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