Office Assistant Sally works for a major UK insurer, which is a client of ClearTalents.

The tool, she says, has come into its own since the firm has embedded a hybrid workforce empowered to split its week between the office and home. “People are in the office potentially half of their time, but we didn’t know what their home working environment looked like.”

ClearTalents offers a diversity passport enabling individual staff to document their physical working environment and needs alongside other reasonable adjustments. It is designed around the nine protected characteristics outlined in The Equality Act 2010. The insurer licensed the workstation assessment tool through Clear Talents, so crucially, staff can create multiple passports for different environments, thereby ensuring they adhere to the legal requirement for all staff to complete a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment each year.

Adapting the home environment

Sally said: “When COVID struck, everybody thought working from home would be a short-term solution to a short-term problem. Give it a couple of months, and we’ll all be back in the office. To start with, I don’t think that anybody paid much attention to their work environment in the home.”

When it became clear that working from home was going to be a common occurrence, the insurer wanted to ensure people’s home workspace was suitable. “Are staff still sitting on their bed? Or on a dining room chair at their dining room table? We had no idea, whereas, in the office, you just look across and can see that the chair is not right or that the monitor isn’t in the right position’.”

At present they have invited 1,132 employees to create a profile and have had a fantastic completion rate, with 98% of employees completing and submitting profiles for the office and 97% for home.

Through these completed ClearTalents profiles, they have discovered people working at home in some unconventional locations – like using the garden furniture in the conservatory – and more. The insurer offers each employee a one-off homeworking allowance and has been able to address workplace issues by providing people with new desks and chairs where required. It has also licensed a workstation assessment tool through ClearTalents.

Information from these workstation assessments is enabling it to make changes where required. “We recognise that space is limited in some people’s houses. So, then I’ll wait for the report. We can sometimes get a small desk – in one case, we implemented one that packs away onto a wall; we’ve also introduced height-adjustable sit-stand desks.”

A range of reasonable adjustments

Simple adjustments recommended through ClearTalents have made a significant impact. For instance, identifying that in the home environment, people often don’t take enough regular breaks. This insight has prompted the insurer to send details of apps encouraging breaks.

Sally explained “I can just ping the employee the link to an app and say, look, you can get an app which makes you move every 15 or 20 minutes or every hour. It’s small things like moving away from your desk, that people don’t think about,” she said.

Sally added, “When we’re in the office, you can get a coffee, or go to the photocopier where you can catch-up with somebody for two minutes, which enables you to take a break from sitting at the computer for too long.  When working from home, it’s good to know there’s a tool to help you break up sitting at the desk.”

Through ClearTalents, the insurer has also identified employees with broader health issues and has encouraged them to make arrangements for to be referred to physiotherapy.

Investing in people

Sally explained “To get the most value from ClearTalents requires buy-in from all employees”. However, getting employees to complete profiles has, at times, proved challenging and initially time consuming but Sally has worked alongside the ClearTalents account managers and has been able to monitor completion rates via the dashboard.

“For the majority of the employees, there is nothing wrong, but it’s important to get them to complete a profile so we know whether or not they require an adjustment,” said Sally. “I check the dashboard every day.”

Working with ClearTalents account managers, she can adapt processes where needed.

Benefits of ClearTalents

ClearTalents is essential in the hybrid working environment.

“With employees working from home up to three days a week, we must know how their workstation is set up.  If employees comment that they ‘have got a bit of a backache but it’s nothing to worry about’, we must establish what is causing the discomfort.  ClearTalents allows us to do this and we have discovered that some problems relate to the employee sitting on unsuitable chairs when working from home for long periods of time. In addition to this, we have seen a reoccurrence of some minor concerns which we can now immediately address by providing employees with hints and tips about improvements to their home environment, which has been brilliant,” said Sally.

“I would definitely say that ClearTalents is a useful tool.”

To individuals offered ClearTalents through their employer, Sally said: “It is so beneficial to invest 20 minutes of your time once a year into answering the questions because you may be surprised at what comes out of it. You may be surprised that your wrist is aching not because you’ve been sitting at the desk all day but because you’ve got the wrong mouse, your desk is at the wrong height, or the chair is at the wrong height.”

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