Agile/Remote Working (Part 1) – Manual Handling

Agile/Remote Working (Part 1) – Manual Handling

Taking the ‘ouch’ out of lugging around all your gear…..

Agile/remote working – perhaps not as simple as it may seem?

Many organisations are now following the entrepreneurial lead and moving to a more ‘agile’ or ‘activity based’ way of working.

The tech revolution has allowed us to start to work wherever and whenever we want – central city locations for big companies are no longer the only place that we can work – coffee shop, co-working space, library, the trains are all places of work now.  

This gives us more flexibility than ever before – hoorah!  But it also poses some potential difficulties that are easily overcome with just a bit of thought – problem is that we tend not to think about them until it’s too late, and we’ve now got aches & pains, or a clunky way of working that we probably could have avoided.

In this series of blogs on agile working we’ll be working our way through all aspects of people, place and technology and giving you our thoughts on what you need to consider and why when moving away from traditional office based working routines.

So whether you’re a Freelancer, Remote Worker, Facilities Manager, or Co-working Space provider you’ll find some useful nuggets here to get you thinking.

By no means will these be exhaustive lists – just food for thought to help navigate these changes for either yourself, your employees or your clients. 

Part 1 – Manual Handling

So instead of the traditional desktop computer and a desk of your own to keep all your bits and pieces you’re now taking everything you need with you as you move from desk to coffee shop to home, to the train – wherever you happen to be working.  And this can all add up.

So what do you really need to carry?

How can we make this easier?  

How are you going to carry it?  


What are you carrying?  

Electronics – phone, tablet, laptop, cables, chargers

Paperwork, notebook, pens and other worky items

Personal stuff – lunch, spare shoes (maybe that’s just me?!), toiletries, keys, gym kit – the list is potentially endless!

How can we make this easier?

Lots of stuff in our bags… what can we do about it?  

Clearly we need to do as much as we can to cut down the amount we need to carry – some will inevitably be more disciplined with this than others but there’s plenty we can all think about:  

  • Do you need all that technology? 
  • Is it the smallest/lightest it can be to comfortably perform the task required of it?  
  • Is battery life adequate to avoid need to carry cables and chargers? 
  • Are spare or loan cables and chargers available in different locations?  
  • Can paperwork be accessed remotely rather than carried? 
  • Are digital paper & pens worth considering?
  • Are you adequately trained to make full use of the digital technology available to you?
  • Can storage be provided in regular visited locations to negate the need to carry all items all of the time?

And then there’s the personal stuff that many of us insist on dragging around with us!  So many of us are guilty of throwing stuff into our bags and rarely clearing it out.  

We’ll admit – behavioural change is the hardest thing to do!  No magic answers here we’re afraid – sorry! Just keep trying to keep stuff to a minimum.

How are you carrying it?  

Backpack?  Messenger bag?  Briefcase?  Handbag?  Trolley bag?  All capable of housing the laptop you’ll undoubtedly need, but all have their pros and cons, so which one should you go for?

The answer to most Ergonomics questions really is ‘it depends’.  Generally we’d say a backpack (carried on both shoulders) is the best option in terms of comfort and reduction in aches & pains.  But it doesn’t suit everybody, or every situation, so you have to weigh up the best option for you to avoid it being a waste of money and yet another item of clutter that’s put under your desk, behind your sofa, or in a locker that’s never used.  

So lots of things to think about.  One size/solution doesn’t fit all, so some thought required.  

And if you’re an employer, then some manual handling training specific to this aspect of an individual’s role would also be appropriate so that you can work together to make ‘agile’ as ‘painless’ as possible for all concerned.   

We’ll probably touch on manual handling again when we look at storage, and technology, and office design as it’s all interlinked, but if you think we’ve missed anything, or would like to add to the discussion we’d be delighted to hear from you.  

Let us know what you think, or what your experiences have been and we can all help add to the discussion on the best ways forward as our offices become more and more ‘mobile’.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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