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Our post: ‘The future is smart, the future is flexible’ – last year, we discussed seeing more varied and flexible approaches to the work environment. Many organisations are embracing the move from fixed office desks as the traditional work set-up changes, and are expanding with co-working spaces or adopting agile settings. Laptops have already outgrown desktop computers, and tablets have surged – particularly with the BYOD (bring your own device) approach that many businesses are employing.

“58% of workers think that the traditional fixed workstation office will have disappeared altogether by 2020”.

Businesswoman using a tabletThe largest generation – the Millennials – are seemingly true natives when it comes to digital technology, and some 92% reportedly place flexibility as a top priority when selecting workplaces. But how does this attitude and behaviour affect DSE health and safety in the workplace? With the adoption of smarter technology and practices, comes a seemingly higher responsibility to DSE health and safety, and we therefore now witness the struggles organisations are facing for employees to continue to adopt ergonomic principles.

“In today’s workplace of anytime anywhere work, employees increasingly use whatever device is most convenient”.

Following sitting in on a presentation discussing collaborative workplaces, the advances in new mobile handhelds, and even wearable technologies and the propensity for their use by the Z generations soon to be entering the workplace, it is clear that we will all face some stiff challenges, ahead!

“If we struggled to prevent the rise of RSI and musculoskeletal disorders with advanced and personalised fixed technology & equipment, how are we going to cope with shared and flexible workspaces?”

Mobile GenerationsThe presenter – Jim Taylour, Head Ergonomist and co-author of the white paper on ‘Mobile Generations’, raised the subject of new health concerns, after the prevalence of mobile technology in fast-changing work environments. Jim sits on numerous standards committees, is engaged in establishing better ergonomics and wellbeing work practices throughout the European community and is chair of a children’s ergonomics special interest group with the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors.

‘Mobile generations’ reports the new strains of occupational health issues and explores both positive and negative effects on wellbeing and how in many cases uninspiring work environments are also ‘unhealthy’.

We too are looking forward to exploring physical space and equipment in discussions with clients and readers over the next few months and beyond – including:

– Issues with noise and interruptions in collaborative workspaces

– The need for breakout areas for contemplation and focus or mentoring

– Combining work with ‘healthy’ activities

– Productivity and isolation with regard to home working

– Assessing distance learners and agile workers

– How ‘on-demand’ workspace and business ‘hubs’ need to be ‘enabling’ for multiple functions

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