This is the fifth in a series of 5 blogs exploring key considerations for employers who are establishing their post-pandemic arrangements for knowledge workers. Click here for the first in the series.
Whatever your final decision about hybrid working, it is almost inevitable that you will have colleagues travelling between locations carrying laptops, tablets, smartphones and other paraphernalia relevant to their role. Whether they are driving or on public transport, meeting clients on site or coming to the office, they need to be properly equipped to work productively wherever they are.
There are two issues to address here. The first is to ensure they are properly trained to think about their work scenarios and adjust their posture to minimise discomfort or injury. The second is to provide them with whatever equipment they need to make those adjustments and maintain their health.
With regard to their training, any good assessment programme, whether carried out face-to-face, remotely or with an online survey, should identify the issues and address them, offering training as part of the procedure. The process for mobile workers is much the same as for homeworkers, but with far more variables! As a starting point, this simple guide identifies common discomfort problems and suggests practical solutions. In addition, regular reminders should be provided as part of your wellbeing programme. These can be through newsletters, online information in your intranet, dynamic signage and posters, lunch and learns and similar events.
Accessories such as laptop stands and mini keyboards can be an enormous help to mobile workers but vary significantly in function, quality and price. It is important to identify typical work scenarios for your mobile workers and then obtain advice and guidance about possible approaches to the issues. Having identified the varying needs and applications, many employers create a shortlist of approved products. This ensures quality control and simple, managed procurement.
One final point worth mentioning is that many employers have already purchased equipment at the start of the pandemic. However, at that time, there was no existing budget provision and the expectation was for a short period of use. As a result, many such purchases were of the ‘cheap and cheerful’ variety. Such low end products may well be suitable for short-term domestic use but are less likely to be robust enough for long-term frequent travel and may already be deteriorating. If you made bulk, cheap purchases in 2020, it is therefore worth checking the condition of such products now.
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