In this era of flexible working and hybrid teams, many companies are ditching the idea of fixed workstations in favour of hot desking. Hot desking can cut the cost of running an office by up to 30% and create a more open working environment – two of the key reasons why 45% of companies had adopted this trend by the end of 2020.
Hot desking may have its selling points, but it can also be a health and safety and compliance nightmare. Under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, employers have an obligation to carry out DSE assessments to ensure all their team’s workspaces meet specific health and safety guidelines. The regulations apply to anyone who uses screens or computer equipment as a significant part of their work – every day for more than an hour at a time – including hot deskers.
To avoid issues like neck and back pain, hot deskers are recommended to carry out at least a basic DSE assessment if they change desks regularly. These regulations exist to protect workers from the risks associated with DSE work, such as musculoskeletal (MSK) issues and eyestrain. Injuries caused by poor workplace setups can result in hefty compensation claims for employers, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to comply with the DSE regulations and health and safety law.
4 challenges of hot desking compliance and health and safety
The nature of hot desking throws up some unique DSE compliance and health and safety challenges for employers:
Challenge 1: It can be difficult to get hot deskers to complete their DSE assessments, making it harder for you to meet your legal duties as an employer – traditional assessments are too time-consuming to complete regularly and it’s often more of a challenge to get hot deskers to complete them as they are constantly changing workspace.
Challenge 2: Hot deskers are less likely to make ergonomic adjustments to their workspaces, as changes may be lost the following day – they are more likely to accept an incorrect working setup, putting them at a higher risk of developing MSK issues like back pain.
Challenge 3: Increased admin burden – hot deskers need to assess multiple workspaces on a regular basis, resulting in a higher volume of DSE assessments for you to keep track of and manage.
Challenge 4: No visibility of hot desking workplace setups – hot deskers are often spread out in different areas and locations, making it harder for you to identify any health and safety risks in their workplace setups.
Luckily for you, Vitrue VIDA offers a simple solution to all these challenges to help you tackle DSE compliance and health and safety for your hot desking team.
How VIDA solves your hot desking compliance and health and safety challenges
Challenge 1: It can be difficult to get hot deskers to complete their DSE assessments, making it harder for you to meet your legal duties as an employer
In an ideal world, hot deskers should complete a DSE assessment every time they move to a new workspace. If you currently use traditional assessment methods like manual forms or online questionnaires, this simply isn’t going to happen. Far too time consuming for your team, and a logistical nightmare for you to send out a constant supply of assessments. Not to mention the legal risk if you fail to comply with your employer DSE and health and safety regulations,
VIDA’s solution – With VIDA’s easy one-click login and unlimited self-serve assessments, hot deskers can assess any new workspace in minutes without you having to lift a finger! The AI webcam assessment and interactive desk planner turn every assessment into a fun and engaging experience – they’ll be excited to recreate their new desk setup in VIDA every time they move to a new workspace.
Challenge 2: Hot deskers are less likely to make ergonomic adjustments to their workspaces, as changes may be lost the following day
Data from thousands of VIDA users reveals that 28% of people are working at a workspace with substantially increased MSK health risks, making them more susceptible to issues like back pain. A common problem in hot desking is working on a laptop positioned too low, which can put up to 400% more force on your spine than if it was positioned correctly!
In most cases, these issues are preventable with small adjustments to a workplace, such as repositioning a screen or raising a laptop. These adjustments only take a few seconds, but hot deskers are less likely to make the effort as they know they’ll be moving again the next day and the changes won’t be permanent.
VIDA’s solution – VIDA allows hot deskers to assess any workspace in minutes and gives instant, actionable recommendations for changes they can make to improve the ergonomics of that specific workspace. Many of these recommendations offer quick-fix or DIY solutions, such as adding a towel to a chair to provide lower back support, which don’t require permanent changes to a workspace. VIDA also helps to educate employees on ergonomic best practices, empowering them with the knowledge to take their workspace wellbeing into their own hands.
Challenge 3: Increased admin burden
So you’ve managed to get your hot desking team to complete regular DSE assessments every time they move workspace, success! Except this now means you’re drowning in admin and struggling to manage the influx of forms and questionnaires. If you use traditional methods for your hot desking DSE compliance, your admin burden will undoubtedly increase.
VIDA’s solution – The VIDA admin dashboard holds all the assessments you’ve sent out to your team in one central place, reducing your admin burden significantly. You can keep track of who has and hasn’t completed their assessments and even filter by location or specific tags, for example ‘hot desking’!
Challenge 4: No visibility of hot desking workplace setups
If your team works at the same desks in the same office every day, you have full visibility of their working setups and habits. With hot desking teams, it’s not as easy to identify any health and safety risks in your team’s workplaces, as you may never actually see them in person.
VIDA’s solution – VIDA analytics gives you a window into your team’s workplace setups, habits, pain levels and burnout risk, enabling you to understand how your hot desking policy is affecting your team’s wellbeing and ergonomic needs wherever they are. With these insights, you can prioritise the actions that will make the biggest impact and increase health, happiness and productivity across your company.