Your workspace, and the way that it is set up, will have a big impact on your daily experience. Anyone who is using display screen equipment as part of their everyday job for an hour or more needs to carry out a workspace assessment (according to the Health & Safety Executive). This is a responsibility that usually falls to employers to implement – but whether you’re an employee working from home or an employer looking to ensure that your workforce is still cared for, in the office or not, this is what you need to consider for a workdesk assessment guide.
When do you need to do an assessment?
This should happen when a new workstation is set up, when a change is made to an existing workdesk or where there is pain or discomfort suffered by the person who is currently using the space.
What does the assessment need to cover?
There are three key elements to take into account with a workdesk assessment:
- The job that the person in the workspace is doing
- Any special requirements that they may have, for example if that person has a disability
- The entire workspace, including the equipment, furniture and the conditions someone is working in
What can go wrong with a poor workdesk situation?
This could be anything, from developing poor posture to aches and pains that can become serious health problems.
What else do you need to consider?
- Use your workspace sensibly. The current guidance recommends that you take regular screen breaks, for example – 5-10 minutes at least every hour.
- Get the right chair for you. Ideally you’ll have an adjustable chair that you understand how to use so that you can ensure it’s at the right settings for you. Ergonomic chairs are ideal if you’re sitting for long periods and need specific support.
- Have a separate mouse and keyboard. It’s much better for you to create the space to have a separate mouse, rather than using a trackpad.
- Make sure you have enough space. There should be enough room under your desk for your legs, including to be able to stretch them out so that they are not restricted. Your screen should be at least an arm’s length in front of you and level with your eyes so that you don’t have to look up or down. Also consider a sit / stand desk so you can remain a bit more active during long hours working.
- Keep your space clutter free. You’ll not only find it much easier to be more productive if you’re working in a clutter free space but it’s safer too. Storage can be essential to achieving this – do you need to add more storage to the space you’re using to help make it more effective?
- Make sure the lighting in your space is adequate. If you’re in front of a screen in poor lighting this can cause eye strain and even headaches.
Carrying out an assessment of your workdesk and the space that you are working in is an essential part of getting the most from your working day and keeping yourself happy and healthy.