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Performance and Wellbeing

Performance and wellbeing are cornerstones of a forward-looking modern workplace. To optimise these, a focus on workplace ergonomics is essential. From software usability, through to reducing strain in manual handling tasks, ergonomic principles help people achieve the best they can as safely as possible.
Performance is only good performance, if it is also safe and healthy performance. If it is not safe or risks the health of employees then any short-term gains will most likely be lost over time to absenteeism and staff turnover.
Physical and mental health are key aspects of wellbeing and the workplace can only support them if processes, equipment and activities take the human element into account.
Coming from a background in the Health & Safety Executive, a lot of my focus has been on higher risk manual handling and repetitive upper limb work – assessing the risks and identifying controls. Since working independently it is clearer that although there are still many issues in the industrial / manufacturing environment, the nature of our economy means that there are massive numbers of people annually still developing musculoskeletal disorders simply from sitting at a desk and using a computer. This is not news – but as an ergonomist it is important enough to keep mentioning – again – and again!
When I deliver computer workstation training I ask at the start for a show of hands – “How many people have had an assessment before?” and “How many people have had training in how to set up safely and comfortably?” If I am lucky, around half put their hands up. Even though there has been a requirement to do both of these since 1992 – for 27 years!! – there are still enormous numbers of people who have never been assessed or trained.
Research surveys indicate between a quarter and 60% of office workers have never adjusted their chairs.
The most rewarding reaction I get when I do desk assessments, is when I show someone an adjustment facility which they had no idea was even there (top tip – it is usually the seat pan depth – or the forward tilt, if either of those are options!). In many cases they have been using the chair for years – but often uncomfortably.
Simple adjustments can make a real difference to people. More importantly from a sustainability and environmental point of view, a visit from an ergonomics consultant or OH professional / physiotherapist should not automatically result in new chairs etc., with old equipment ending up on the scrap heap. Often it is simply a case of getting people familiar with what they already have – giving them the knowledge to make changes themselves and the ability to maintain them. That said – there are a lot of chairs out there that are – putting it in the nicest possible way – ‘unsuitable’!
The links between ergonomics and sustainability are not always immediately apparent. Even though there is an underlying feeling that they are congruent – and surely must be tied in some underlying way, researchers have struggled to forge clear links. A flurry of reviews and research on this happened in 2012, and even then it was clear that for ergonomics to ‘get in on sustainability’, the definition needed to be a wide one; sustainability needed to take into account aspects like organisational longevity and sustainable use of human resources.
If we’re happy to stick with this broader definition, and accept the line of thinking that Corporate Social Responsibility goes hand-in-hand with sustainability, then if we consider human resource sustainability for the long-term there is now a unique opportunity for organisations. The workforce of the future are exposed to a unique set of musculoskeletal risks. Mobile devices – smartphones and tablets – are used often intensively almost from birth. The impact of the poor posture that these devices result in is already seeing younger and younger children seeking help from phsyiotherapists and osteopaths. The idea that these individuals will one day enter the workforce should be a concern to the business community.
The answer – (or a large part of it) is to train staff now in how to manage the risks, spread the word, spread good practice as being ‘the norm’, and encourage it to filter down to younger generations via social contact and family life. By doing this you/we are helping to sustain human resources for the future – meaning better productivity and enhanced wellbeing for the next 20 to 30 years and beyond.
The result – Corporate Social Responsibility and meeting legal duties all wrapped up in one tidy package.


Andrew O’Donnell joins JLL as UK Real Estate and Workplace director

JLL has announced the appointment of Andrew O’Donnell as its new UK Real Estate and Workplace director.
Andrew will work closely with JLL’s operations, smart buildings, workplace strategy and Tetris teams to deliver improvements across its UK workplaces and building facilities.
Andrew joins from EY, where, as EMEIA Real Estate leader, he delivered solutions to 90,000 people across 9 million sq ft of office space. He led the EMEIA ‘EY@Work’ workplace programme, creating activity-based workplaces across EY’s locations and building EY’s approach to flex spaces, including at EY’s new 280,000 sq ft London office.
Richard Howling, UK COO said: “Andrew’s passion for innovation in real estate and his 16 years of experience managing large-scale change programmes was why we recruited him as we continue to progress our own workplace strategy.
“We know that having the right working environment strongly contributes to employee happiness and therefore to the success of a company. By hiring a recognised leader, with proven experience of driving an accomplished workplace programme, we will not only support our own workspace transformation, we will trial and showcase ideas and new technology, to keep us at the forefront of developing brilliant workplaces and can best advise our clients to achieve the same benefits.”
Andrew O’Donnell, UK Real Estate and Workplace director, commented: “Having the right workplace strategy has never been more important to ensure organisations attract and retain the best talent, improve employee health and productivity and respond to an ever changing political and economic landscape.
“I am excited to be joining a company that is putting the latest ideas in to action and is able to leverage its own workplaces both to proactively support its people but also to use that experience to advise its clients.
“Continuing to progress JLL’s own journey in agility, sustainability, IoT and the quality of the human experience are all areas I am looking forward to focusing on. Developing our UK workspace strategy to ensure JLL and its clients can continue to capitalise on the changing world of work has never been more important.”


Aggreko named as supplier for Crown Commercial Service

Leading supplier of temporary power, heating and cooling solutions, Aggreko, has been confirmed as a supplier on Crown Commercial Service’s Heat Networks and Electricity Generation Assets (HELGA) agreement.
Crown Commercial Service (CCS) supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services. CCS has procured a number of energy demand management and generation services, including Aggreko, making it easier for public bodies and the wider public sector to find the right suppliers for solar panels, wind turbines, heat networks, battery storage and more.
By being recognised as CCS supplier, Aggreko will have opportunities to tender for multiple governmental projects over the next four years. The HELGA agreement has been designed to allow large schemes to be broken into smaller, more accessible projects, while it will also allow suppliers to be involved with the public sector’s drive to reduce its environmental impact.
John Eardley, Sector Development Manager for Distributed Energy and Renewables at Aggreko, commented: “This is an exciting journey that Aggreko is about to embark upon, providing us with lots of opportunity to tender for public sector projects and being a driving force in reducing the sector’s impact on the environment.
“At Aggreko, we’ve already started to expand our services; from behind the meter work and the micro grid, through to the renewables industry and balancing networks. We are looking forward to enhancing this offering through the support of the HELGA agreement, while also helping to ensure public sector projects run on time and within budget.”
CCS supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services. In 2017/18, CCS delivered £354 million in commercial benefits including savings for central government, and £247 million for the wider public sector – helping to deliver world-class public services that offer best value for taxpayers.
Aggreko will now start tendering for key governmental projects. For more information, please visit

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