What is the 5% rule?

Imagine getting everyone in your office to stand up from their desks and arrange themselves in a line, in height order; what would that look like?

At Posture People HQ, we’re a nine-strong team, and range in height from 5’0” up to somewhere near 6’0”. And we’re all different body types too!

The difference between our office and a ‘typical office’ is that, as an office furniture retailer, we have chairs of all shapes and sizes readily available, as well as being lucky enough to use height adjustable desks. This means that everyone’s workstation can be tailored to their individual body metrics and requirements.

But this certainly isn’t the norm.

What’s the 5% rule?

Remember when we imagined our colleagues stood in a line? Chances are, someone is a little bit taller, shorter, slimmer, fuller figured or have more advanced requirements. On balance, we’ve found that this equates to at least one person in every workforce (up to about 5% of the total for larger companies, give-or-take).

The typical office is furnished with a standard desking system (typically between 69 & 72cm from the floor to the underside of the worktop) and a modestly specified task chair. And you can reasonably expect that this furniture will service 90-95% of staff perfectly adequately, so long as you’ve followed the steps for good ergonomic workstation set-up.

However, there will be staff with additional needs outside of the standard furniture. People’s body change over time and for a variety of reasons. A member of staff may become an expectant mother – requiring a pregnancy risk assessment – or sustain an injury in an accident or through wear and tear over time. And of course, you may have a member of staff with a mobility challenge, impairment of one or more senses or any of a number of other health considerations to bear in mind.

If you’ve already read our guide to ‘what do you need for a new starter?’, you’ll know that anyone new into your business will need to receive ‘adequate Display Screen Equipment (DSE) training’, followed up by a DSE Assessment.

There are a number of ways that all of this can be done; Many larger companies incorporate this process into their new starter induction or have a dedicated module on a training system. 90-95% of respondents will flag no issues at all, or, very minor issues that can be resolved by the in-house facilities teams, HR persons or Occupational Health representatives.

But what to do about the 5%?

This is where Posture People come in.

We specialise in workplace ergonomics and regularly provide consultancy and advanced workstation assessments for the 5%, whose body metrics don’t suit the standard furniture or have those advanced requirements for something a little different. This includes people working with conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS), among others. We also routinely help people with a range of back, shoulder and neck issues as well as those with repetitive strain injuries (RSI).

The good news is, we can normally find solutions to help people stay in work and reduce discomfort, if not resolve it completely. take a look at some of our most recent success stories here!

For more information about our DSE services, why not give us a call on 0330 332 0880 or email us your enquiry. We love to chat and advice is always free!

And for further reading, guidance on setting up an ergonomic workstation, the best chair for a bad back and a number of other workplace welfare issues are discussed elsewhere on the blog.

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Get in touch and one of our team would be happy to help answer your questions.

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