Covid-19 has created a huge demand in the home office furniture arena. A year on year comparison of UK online searchers in April 2020 compared to April 2019 found a huge surge in demand for office desks and office chairs, up by 438% and 300% respectively.
And the demand for home office furniture is likely to persist even as the pandemic passes. Many companies are looking to a future where workers split their working time between the home office and the workplace.
So with home working here to stay, some companies are choosing to invest in home office furniture for their employees. Top of the priority list are ergonomic chairs and desks. As we explored in a recent blog post, these must-have items can boost everyone’s work from home experience.
But what about the practical elements of providing staff with home office furniture? Here are some things to think about to make the process smooth sailing.
When ordering home office furniture items for your staff, you will need to explore the delivery details. Can items be delivered direct to home addresses or will they need to be collected? Can you buy in bulk and deliver to multiple addresses? Fortunately, most suppliers will offer a delivery service that enables items to be delivered directly to employees homes, even if you’re buying in bulk.
The timescales for delivery is another factor to consider. The best office chairs have traditionally been made to order, so if you need something urgently, look for suppliers that also offer express delivery options.
What happens when the furniture arrives at the employee’s home? Many furniture items, including desks, are likely to come in parts. Will employees need to put them together themselves?
Most people will have put together a piece of IKEA furniture in their lifetime, but anything more complicated or that requires special tools may not be so practical. So when looking at items, ideally opt for products that can be easily assembled. For furniture with a more complicated setup, suppliers may provide an assembly service where they will come into the home and put the furniture together for your employees.
3. Set up
Carrying out DSE assessments may be commonplace in the office, but how can you ensure your workers are set up comfortably with their new home office furniture?
Choosing furniture that can be adapted and optimised to the individual is crucial in the first instance. Almost all office chairs allow for height and arm adjustments, but these aren’t the only features to look for. Adjustable lumbar support, rotating arms and seat depth adjustments are equally important. When it comes to workstations, height-adjustable desks are ideal because they give workers the option tochange postures while still focusing on work.
Then there are all the other things that make work more manageable. For example, monitor arms fitted to workstations allow users to move the screen to suit different postures throughout the day. Likewise, keyboard platforms and footrests can improve comfort while working.
At home, it will be largely down to workers to assess their positioning and determine what they need to add or adjust to make them more comfortable. You may need to provide them with advice or a checklist on how to set up their office to be the most ergonomic.
4. Your long-term WFH plans
If you’re intending to bring your workforce back to the office, the expense of supplying people with homeworker furniture may well be playing on your mind. Is it worth spending money on home office furniture now if people are going to be back in the office come the summer?
However, many believe the future of work will be a hybrid model where people split their time between the office and the home. So if your employees are going to be spending 50% of their time at home, it’s likely to be worth the investment.
A comfortable, ergonomic workspace - whether at home or in the office - has a powerful impact on employees’ wellbeing and productivity. Choosing to invest in employees’ comfort can also help them to feel more valued, and they’ll be more likely to stick around.
All employers have a responsibility to help their people work safely from home. While there is no explicit obligation to provide office furniture for home workers, doing so can have a positive impact on employee wellbeing and productivity. It may also become an important factor in attracting and retaining staff.
If you’re looking to invest in home working furniture for your employees, suppliers like Insightful Environments are able to facilitate the delivery of individual or bulk orders on a range of homeworking furniture direct to employees' addresses. Employees can fit out their home offices with a pre-selected kit that ensures they have all the tools and equipment they need to stay healthy and happy at home. Or, you can create a custom catalogue of furniture products for your employees and add it to your own secure e-portal for your company that employees can easily order from.