small business Technology work from home

Setting up a home workstation safely

In our previous articles we have discussed the equipment that you need and the type of internet connection.   With working from home set to become the normal for some businesses for a while, some businesses will need to provide a more permanent setup for their staff so they can work safely and effectively from home. The setup of your home workstation needs to comply with Health and Safety Executive laws.

Working Safely with display screen equipment

The UK Health and Safety Executive have regulated that for employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other worker.  https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/workers/home.htm#dse

Any employee working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones should be protected.

An employer must:

  • Do a DSE workstation assessment.
  • Reduce risks by including making sure workers take breaks from DSE work.
  • Provide an eye test if a worker asks for one.
  • Provide training and information for workers.

The law applies to

  • a fixed workstation
  • mobiles workers
  • home workers
  • hot-desking (the worker should carry out a basic risk assessment if they change desks regularly)

Home working setup

If you are working at home more regularly or you have a home office setup, it is worth reviewing the HSE workstation checklist pdf   

The HSE have also provided a video for temporary working at home workstation setup:

The equipment you use can have a positive or negative effect on your health and mental well-being. 

Even if you are sitting at a dining room table or have a small desk ensuring you are seated correctly can ensure you do not suffer from sitting at your workstation for long periods.

Chair – having a suitable chair that supports your lower back and ensures your legs are in the right position.  Lumber support can be built in or a cushion or blanket can be rolled to provide support.

Legs & Feet – your feet should not be dangling, if required a pedestal can relive the pressure from your legs and support your feet. 

footstool

Displays – if you have a separate screen, all in one device or laptop, the screen should be at arm’s length and does not need to swivel or tilt however this may help if you need to reposition or move the screen out of the way to allow you to work without the computer.

Keyboards & Mice – ensuring your wrists are straight and the device is positioned close, so you are not overreaching.  Support for your arm can be gained from the arm of the chair or desk surface.  A wireless keyboard and mouse, even with a laptop can provide a good working solution if you need to tidy the equipment away when you are not working.

Display stands

There are a wide variety of display stands available.  Over the years we have used and seen some different ones develop.  These can be used in both office and home environments.

Homemade stands – If the screen is not quite at the right height then an obvious one is a telephone directory or stack of books.  A ream of printer paper is often used too.  Just be cautious as these may not be stable.

Included with the product – Most screens will have a basic stand included with tilt and pivot function built in, this allows a little movement, so you get the screen at the right angle.  The included stand may be at a fixed height, and some may be height adjustable.  The height adjustable screens tend to be a little more expensive.  If you are buying a screen look for one which has a VESA mount which can be used with a variety of mounts available.

Basic stand – If all you need is a little boost to increase the height of the existing stand, a basic stand may be suitable.  Often these are in expensive and can provide some storage or desk tidy options.

monitor stand

Flexible mount – If your screen has a VESA mount then there are a wide range of flexible mounts available, some include gas sprung arms for one, two, three or more screens.

These will generally clamp to your desk or table and provide a stable way to mount the screens.  With dual screen options it can be tricky with some products to get the screens exactly level.  We found the gas sprung options include good cable management and can also include USB port extender and connectors for your headphones and microphone. 

Laptop stands

Getting a laptop screen to the right height for long-term is possible in several ways.

Basic riser – The laptop sits on the riser and you can use the built-in display.  This is often combined with a wireless keyboard/mouse to keep your wrists at the right angle.

laptop riser

Flexible mount – In a similar way to the dual display mounts, a laptop can be mounted on one side of the mount so that you can use an external screen at the same time as the laptop display.  These clamp to your desk and allow you to move the laptop when not in use, as well as more space on your desktop.

monitor and laptop mount

If you are using a laptop at home or when in the office then it is worth using a docking station, which reduces the amount of connectors you need to plug in each time you move your laptop. Some USB versions also include a display output so you can just connect just one or two cables.

Cable Management

To ensure you do not any have trip or fire hazards and to ensure your power cables are not frayed or damaged, we would recommend spending a little time ensuring your cables are kept tidy.  The easiest way to do this is using adjustable hook and loop cable straps.  These can be re-positioned easily if you need to adjust a cable or add/remote one.

cable hoot and loops

Our team have been working remotely for over 10 years. So, for any advice on which product is suitable for your requirements or you would like assistance in setting up a home or office workstation call 0333 332 6600 and speak to one of our IT Consultants.