New Home Office Buyers Guide Published
There has been a dramatic rise in the number of people working from home since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, having been forced to adapt very quickly, companies and individuals are now better equipped to support more flexible working arrangements going forward and have experienced the advantages that flexible working brings to both the employer and the employee.
The summer of 2021 has seen UK social distancing restrictions being lifted and government guidance updated to encourage workers to go back to the office, however many employers and employees are expressing their desire to continue remote working arrangements for the foreseeable future, whether it be full time, part-time or just occasionally. As home working arrangements become more permanent, the employer has a legal obligation to comply with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Health Safety 2003 Regulations, and ensure that their workers are using an adequate workstation in the home as they would be in the office.
To help individuals and companies select fit-for-purpose furniture and accessories to kit out the home office, the Ergonomics Team at FIRA International (service provider to the Furniture Industry Research Association) has published a Home Office Buyers Guide.
The guide, which is freely accessible to all, will help:
- Individuals and companies know what to look for when selecting products for home workstations
- Manufacturers when designing for the domestic market
- All users understand key ergonomic considerations to ensure the most suitable equipment is selected.
The guide is broken up into several sections covering the following:
Employer’s legal responsibility to home working employees – This section details relevant guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on what employers should be doing to support their home-working employees.
What equipment is necessary based on how much time is spent working at home – People working from home full time or for multiple days per week should be using a fully DSE compliant workstation whereas for those who are working from home just for a day or two a week, or on a more ad hoc basis, there are compromises that are deemed to be acceptable. Recommended minimum requirements for each scenario are outlined in this section of the guide.
Specific product guidance - Relevant British and European standards, specific requirements from the HSE’s guidance to the DSE regulations and key ergonomic considerations are detailed for desks, chairs, display screens, keyboards, mice, foot supports, wrist supports and document holders. The guide also recognises that there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to buying home office products and tries to arm the reader with key information that will help them make informed buying decisions regardless of how much space they have available.
Additional guidance on how to set up and use an ergonomic workstation at home is available in our Ergonomic Home Working Guides for Employers and Employees, available here