Welcome To A New Way Of Work
We have been thinking about the posts you see quite frequently now on Linkedin where someone joins a company and they post a photo showing off the 'Onboarding Package' that has been presented to them on the desk.
One very fortunate new recruit the other day was presented with a brand new Mac Laptop, various Apple based input devices, a bag, some chocolates, sweets...all sounding good so far?
What struck us talking about this to a number of experts was nowhere in this package was there anything that really helped to get that employee on-board from a health and wellbeing perspective and is this not an opportunity missed?
Talking to independent workplace assessors who carry out DSE (Display Screen Equipment) assessments, these should be carried out at the point of induction into a company.
It enables the business to ensure that the new member of staff has all the adjustments they need to work productively and it also ensures that the employee's health is benchmarked at the point of entry.
Failure to do this could potentially be costly further down the line.
If we really care for the wellbeing of our team and don't just see them as 'staff' then providing an on-boarding package which has more of a long term impact rather than just gaining a moment of fame on social media should be our aim.
As it is our business we considered...
What if, the laptop provided came with the necessary equipment to enable that person to work safely and without damaging their health and allowed them to be flexible in where they worked?
As we considered and talked to people we thought, what if, alongside that, there was provision of an independent assessment and posture and fitness guidance?
The education ensuring that our new employee would know how to look after themselves?
Maybe a year's gym membership to encourage our team member into some exercise which can also help with mental health?
A subscription to a healthy eating supplier to help them find a way to eat well?
One of our WaterWell bottles to encourage them not to use single use plastic bottles in the office?
Nichola Adams, MSc Health Ergonomics, Director Inspired Ergonomics Ltd writes:
"As a company providing ergonomic consultancy services to a wide range of companies, we have been witnessing a huge increase in the number of musculoskeletal issues being experienced when working from home.
The majority of employees are being provided with a laptop and occasionally a mouse, and then expected to then just plug in and go.
As a result, they are reporting shoulder, neck and lower back pain. Some may then raise the laptop, in an attempt to relieve discomfort, but continue to use the integrated keyboard.
This results in poor wrist postures and elevated shoulders, increasing their risk of pain and discomfort, as well as headaches.
Simply raising the laptop and using a SEPARATE keyboard and mouse saves a whole world of pain.
So, yes, I believe that it is critical to include some ergonomic education within the onboarding pack, as well as the extra ergonomic accessories to use the laptop safely.
At the very least, an advisory leaflet would be sensible, or perhaps a voucher for an assessment.
This is not only in the wellbeing interests of the employee, but helps the business to comply with the HSE DSE 1992 ACT (for both home and office workers)."
If you have a new member of staff joining soon, why not think about whether your on-boarding actually sits properly with the objectives and ethos of your company or whether you are just giving the new employee a load of 'nice things' which they will soon forget about.
Using this opportunity to reinforce a positive company culture which encourages health and wellbeing can have positive benefits for productivity.