With the new national restrictions that came into place on 5 November which again advises workers to work from home if they can, the planning and introduction of a safe office environment looks to be on hold for businesses where employees can maintain working from home for the foreseeable future.
Working from home may come with the benefit of a very short commute, but not having the amenities of a typical office environment – ergonomic chairs, proper desks, monitors, footrests – has its disadvantages, especially now that working from home has been further extended.
We asked 2,500 employees about equipment provisions by their employers for home working, as well as the efforts made to determine the suitability of their new home office space.
Ascertaining office space suitability
Ascertaining the suitability of each employee’s new working environment via a risk assessment is something that should have been a top priority for businesses. However, our research indicates that almost half of employees (48%) who moved to home working during the national lockdown were not provided with such an assessment.
Through our analysis, certain industries were discovered to be at greater risk by not having a full understanding of their employees’ new working environments.
Those working in human resources were shown to have been the best prepared for the move to home working, with 78% of respondents surveyed having received a risk assessment form, followed by 60% of IT professionals.
Supplying essential equipment
As little notice was given pre-lockdown, it is no surprise that many employers struggled to get essential equipment to their teams immediately.
However, months on, how many are still without important provisions?
Half of the employees we spoke with (48%) reported they have not been provided with a company laptop or desktop computer while working from home, obliging them to complete potentially confidential or data-sensitive tasks on their personal devices.
Only one in six (17%) had been supplied with a suitable office chair by their employer, while only one in eight (13%) had been furnished with an appropriate desk for working from home.
More employees had received pens and stationery (16%) than important health-centred equipment such as a computer or laptop stand (13%), footrest (6%), or lumbar back support (5%).
Those working in customer service (32%), marketing (31%), and IT (24%) ranked the lowest in regard to their employers’ provision of any office equipment for home working, while those in human resources ranked highest with three-quarters (74%) received some equipment to support with the change of working location.
Supporting your employees
While many continue to work at home without key equipment, the vast majority of employees (81%) said they feel they have been offered enough support by their employers during lockdown, with over a third (35%) feeling ‘very supported’. Those working in education felt the most supported (91%) while those working in marketing felt least supported (50%).
Whether it is through providing relevant information or putting steps in place to offer home office equipment, businesses should consider their approach for a health and supported workforce.
Our employee-focused Work From Home Guide covers everything from the basics to the finer details, enabling employees to optimise their productivity whilst getting used to this new dynamic.