A woman works from home with her cat

Homeworking: a pressing need for DSE assessments

The pandemic reshaped the way we work, with remote working becoming the new norm for millions of employees worldwide. While the flexibility of working from home has its perks, it has also led to a surge in back-related issues among workers. With the lines between the office and home blurred, many employees have been left without proper ergonomic setups. This, says Ben Holt, Managing Director, Loch HR, Training and Wellbeing, has given rise to the pressing need for Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessments to address and prevent these health concerns.

The pandemic’s impact on work arrangements
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work like never before. Office spaces emptied out, and employees transformed kitchen tables and couches into makeshift workstations. At the outset, this transition seemed like a temporary solution. However, as months turned into years, the prolonged and often suboptimal work conditions has begun taking a toll on people’s health.

The surge in back issues
Back problems have emerged as one of the most prevalent health concerns among remote workers. Without proper office furniture, ergonomic chairs and adjustable desks, employees have been forced to work hunched over laptops and computers. This posture, sustained for hours on end, can lead to a host of musculoskeletal issues, including lower back pain, neck strain and shoulder discomfort.

The need for DSE assessments
DSE assessments, also known as workstation assessments, have become a vital tool in addressing and preventing these health issues. These assessments evaluate an individual’s workspace to ensure it meets ergonomic standards and promotes optimal health and comfort. DSE assessments will often recommend:

  • Ergonomic equipment: Ergonomic chairs, sit-stand desks, and adjustable monitor stands. These tools can help individuals maintain a more natural and healthy posture while working.
  • Proper screen placement: The height and angle of computer screens play a crucial role in reducing strain on the neck and shoulders. DSE assessments can guide employees in adjusting their screens to the right position.
  • Adequate lighting: Proper lighting can significantly impact eye strain. DSE assessments may recommend changes in lighting to reduce glare on screens.
  • Breaks and exercises: Regular breaks and stretching exercises are essential to prevent prolonged periods of sitting. DSE assessments can suggest specific exercises and routines to incorporate into the workday.
  • Education and awareness: Perhaps most importantly, DSE assessments raise awareness about the importance of maintaining good posture and the potential risks associated with prolonged screen time.

Employer responsibility
Remote work is here to stay, and employers play a crucial role in ensuring the wellbeing of their remote workforce. Providing DSE assessments is not only a gesture of care but also a legal obligation. By investing in the health and comfort of employees, organisations can reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and foster a positive work environment.

International Workplace offers a half-day Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Awareness course, which covers:

  • Introduction to Display Screen Equipment (DSE).
  • DSE Regulations, the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974.
  • Health risks associated with DSE.
  • Good posture and wellbeing.
  • Control measures.

This course is designed to be suitable for display screen users in all workplaces, and can incorporate specific training on company procedures and equipment.