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Home workstation underexposed in Europe

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The International Comparative Flexible Working Survey 2013 showed that the number of people working at home is increasing rapidly. Remarkably, HR professionals in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom thought that home workstations are essentially the responsibility of their employees.

The figures
In the Walloon provinces of Belgium, the highest percentage of the surveyed HR professionals (89%) thought that the (quality of the) home workstation is basically the responsibility of the employee. The United Kingdom and Flanders followed in the middle group and in the Netherlands and Germany only 71% of the respondents agreed with the given statement. If the employee was not thought to be responsible for his/her home workstation, the respondents named the HR and ICT departments as being responsible. Significantly, in the Walloon provinces of Belgium and the United Kingdom, the ICT department was said to be responsible, while HR was held responsible in the Netherlands, Germany and Flanders.


A logical consequence of the fact that employers currently place the responsibility on their staff is that the organizations have no insight into the quality of the home workstation. In the Netherlands and Belgium, more than half of the organizations have no insight into this. In Germany, this percentage is 44%. Only in the United Kingdom did a majority of 57% evaluate the home workstation as ‘adequate’ or ‘good’. To monitor quality, in England special home visits are being performed. This would be a smart idea for other countries where home visits currently are seldom if ever performed.

Duty of care
A home workstation must also comply with the minimum legal requirements. Consider, for example, an individual keyboard, a laptop stand and an individual mouse device. In the Netherlands, the employer has a so-called duty of care towards staff, also when it concerns a home workstation. The role of the employer in this regard is also important in other countries. Within the scope of good employment practices and having a healthy and efficient staff, giving home workstations (extra) attention pays. Since work is often performed in different places in the home, having accessories that can be moved around and stored easily is especially important. The advantage of these kinds of ergonomic computer accessories is that staff can also use them at flex workstations at other locations.

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