Embracing Ergonomics to Empower Hybrid and Home Workers


In today’s rapidly evolving work landscape, hybrid and home working have become an integral part of many professionals’ lives. The freedom and flexibility these arrangements offer are undeniable, but there’s a catch – with the comforts of home come potential challenges to our well-being. As the lines between work and personal life blur, it becomes essential to prioritize our health and productivity. Enter the realm of ergonomics, a vital component that can significantly impact the performance and well-being of hybrid and home workers.

Understanding the Science of Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of how our work environment interacts with our physical and mental capabilities. By designing our workspace to fit our body’s needs, we can reduce discomfort, prevent injuries, and enhance productivity. For hybrid and home workers, who spend extended hours at their desks, creating an ergonomically friendly workspace is crucial.

Ergonomics at Home

One of the major challenges of home working is the lack of proper office equipment. To combat this, investing in an ergonomic office chair and an adjustable desk is a great start. A chair with lumbar support and adjustable armrests will maintain a neutral spine position, while an adjustable desk allows for seamless transitions between sitting and standing, alleviating strain on the back and legs.

  • The Role of Proper Monitor Placement: With the increase in screen time, eye strain and neck pain have become common complaints. Positioning the monitor at eye level, about an arm’s length away, reduces strain on the neck and eyes. Additionally, using an anti-glare screen and adjusting brightness levels can further protect our vision.
  • Keyboard and Mouse Comfort: Repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome can occur when typing or using the mouse for extended periods. Choosing an ergonomic keyboard and mouse can make a significant difference, reducing strain on the wrists and fingers. Ergonomic designs encourage a more natural hand and wrist position, mitigating the risk of injuries.
  • Lighting and Acoustics:  Optimal lighting is often overlooked but plays a vital role in our well-being and productivity. Positioning your desk near a window for natural light can help reduce eye strain and boost mood. Adequate acoustics are equally important, as a noisy environment can be distracting and negatively impact concentration levels. Encouraging
  • Movement: Sitting for prolonged periods can lead to a host of health issues. Encouraging movement throughout the day is essential. Taking short breaks to stretch, walk, or do some quick exercises not only reduces physical strain but also recharges the mind.
  • Mental Wellbeing: Ergonomics doesn’t only pertain to physical comfort; it extends to mental well-being too. Creating a dedicated workspace at home helps establish boundaries between work and personal life. Additionally, incorporating plants and personal touches can contribute to a more positive and uplifting atmosphere.

As hybrid and home working become the new norm, integrating ergonomic principles into our workspaces is not a luxury but a necessity. Prioritizing our wellbeing and comfort ultimately enhances productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction. By embracing ergonomics, hybrid and home workers can pave the way for a healthier, more balanced, and successful work-life integration.

Quills UK is here to support you in your ergonomic journey, providing high-quality ergonomic office solutions that enable you to thrive in your hybrid and home work environment.


Why Defibrillators Are An Important Workplace Asset

What are defibrillators / AEDs?

Defibrillators or AEDs (automated external defibrillators), are medical devices that are used to restore normal heart rhythm in people suffering from cardiac arrest. In an emergency, defibrillators can be the difference between life and death, so it’s no surprise that a lot of workplaces are opting to install them.

How do defibrillators work?

There are multiple types – such as implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), wearable cardioverter defibrillators (WCDs), semi-automatic AEDs and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) – however, this article will be discussing AEDs.

AED are devices that are designed to be easily used by non-medical professionals in cardiac emergencies. They check the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, send a shock to restore normal rhythm.

Sticky pads with sensors, called electrodes, are attached to the chest of someone who is having cardiac arrest. The electrodes send information about the person’s heart rhythm to a computer in the AED. The computer analyses the heart rhythm to find out whether an electric shock is needed. If it is needed, the electrodes deliver the shock.


Do you need to have first aid training to use a defibrillator?

The short answer is no. AEDs are designed to be simple and easy to use, even for those without medical training. They typically include clear instructions and audio prompts to guide the user through the process of delivering a shock to the individual’s heart. Another useful feature is that many AEDs now include CPR coaching to ensure that the person providing the CPR is doing it correctly and effectively. You won’t be instructed to give a shock to the patient if it’s not required.

Why is it so important to have easily accessible defibrillators?

The answer to this is simple. The use of defibrillators significantly increases the survival rate of people who suffer from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

A scary statistic is that the UK survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests is only around 8%.  (Interestingly, this is lower than in other developed countries.) The chances of survival are estimated to decrease by 10% each minute that a cardiac arrest sufferer goes without defibrillation.

In December 2022, the average UK ambulance response time to a life-threatening emergency was 10 minutes and 57 seconds. With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that only around 20% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are even treatable via defibrillation by the time an ambulance arrives.

The results of UK studies by the National Institute for Health and Care Research show that automated defibrillators significantly increase survival rates. Here’s a summary of their findings:

The survival rate of patients if a defibrillator had been attached:

  • The median survival rate was 22% if attended to by any non-medical first responder.
  • The median survival rate was higher following defibrillator attachment from bystanders at 32% than for dispatched firefighters or police at 12%


If the defibrillator had been attached to the patient and they had a shockable rhythm:

  • The median survival rate was 40% if the defibrillator was attached by any non-medical first responder.
  • The median survival rate was higher if the defibrillator was attached by bystanders at 53% compared with dispatched firefighters or police at 29%

Compared to the average 8% survival rate, these findings show how important AEDs are. Installing one in the workplace could literally save the life of an employee, visitor, student, not to mention your own.

If your business is in a high-traffic area, having a publicly accessible AED can also be a large benefit to your local community. There are apps and online directories that list the closest public AEDs, such as Heart Safe’s online map, so your business can really make a difference.

Are AEDs mandatory for my business type?

In the UK, it is not mandatory for any businesses to have AEDs installed but many have now chosen to install one.  All schools in England are required to have at least one AED on their premises by the end of the academic year 2022/2023.

Purchasing a defibrillator for your business

Many businesses are committed to providing the safest possible workplace for their employees and guests. Quills can provide a variety of defibrillator machines, replacement parts and accessories – contact us for more information and advice or learn more here.

How often do defibrillator batteries need to be replaced?

This varies depending on the manufacturer but is typically every 3-5 years from the manufacturer’s production date.

How often do you need to change the pads?

Your defibrillator pads should have an expiry date on the back but the adhesive typically lasts two years. The pads can be purchased for adults, infants, or a set of both.

How to use a defibrillator

While these devices are designed to be easy to use, it’s still important to know how to properly operate one in case of an emergency. Each automatic defibrillator will have unique instructions, so make sure to review any documentation the device comes with and how to run a maintenance check. You can also have your office’s designated first aid officer learn how to operate it. Here is a brief overview of the process:

Step 1: Check for signs of life

Before using a defibrillator, it’s important to check for signs of life in the individual experiencing cardiac arrest. This includes checking for breathing, pulse, and responsiveness. If the individual is not breathing or has no pulse, it’s time to use the defibrillator.

Step 2: Turn on the defibrillator

Once you have determined that the individual is in cardiac arrest, turn on the defibrillator. It should have clear instructions and audio prompts to guide you through the process.

Step 3: Apply the pads

The defibrillator will come with pads that need to be applied to the individual’s bare chest. The pads will have clear instructions on where to place them. It’s important to make sure that the pads are properly positioned before continuing.

Step 4: Follow the audio prompts

The defibrillator will give you clear audio prompts to guide you through the process. Follow these prompts carefully and do not touch the individual while the defibrillator is analysing their heart rhythm.

Step 5: Deliver the shock

If the defibrillator determines that a shock is needed, it will prompt you to deliver the shock. Press the button to deliver the shock as instructed by the audio prompts.

Step 6: Perform CPR

After delivering the shock, it’s important to immediately begin performing CPR as directed by the defibrillator’s audio prompts. This will help to circulate oxygen-rich blood to the individual’s brain and other vital organs. You will also be prompted if more force is required for hand compressions.

Step 7: Repeat as needed

If the defibrillator determines that another shock is needed, repeat steps 4-6 as directed by the audio prompts.

In conclusion, defibrillators are life-saving devices that can provide critical care to individuals experiencing cardiac arrest. By having an AED installed and knowing how to properly use it, you can help to save a life in an emergency situation. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the defibrillator’s instructions and audio prompts and to always follow them carefully. Knowing where the closest AEDs are in locations you frequent could save someone’s life!

Remember, if any emergency situation does arise, your first call should always be 999 as they will have the training to guide you through CPR and the use of an automatic defibrillator.

If you have any further questions about installing a workplace defibrillator, send us an enquiry today or call 0208 256 5080 or view our range here.