Valerie Foster, Author at Chris Mee Group | CMSE

5 Tips for working from home, directly from Chris Mee Group Ergonomist and Safety Consultant Matthew Culloty

Home working is something we’ve all heard of in recent years; while the number of companies that provide this as an option, to either work from home full time or a day a week, has been increasing; slowly this option either isn’t possible or practical to many people depending on their jobs, lifestyle and just general work habits. So, what do we do when we find ourselves in unprecedented times of self-isolation and forced to home work, in not so ideal positions?

Here are some simple tips to keep in mind to help you stay productive, minimize musculoskeletal disorders from poor office posture, and hopefully help in making a far from ideal scenario ever so slightly better.

1. Select a suitable work area.

While many people that are familiar to working from home at some stage may very well have a dedicated workspace and the equipment to go with it, for those that don’t this may be easier said than done, depending on your dwelling.

Ideally if you can get:

  • A workspace that allows sufficient space for your work equipment, i.e. monitor at a good distance from you, keyboard/mouse space as well as room for any documents.
  • Good lighting – this can be in the form of natural light like next to a window and/or desktop lamp, this can greatly help reduce eye strain, mental fatigue and headaches.
  • Good ventilation/temperature control – one benefit of working from home you can better control how warm (or cool) your workspace is. Always advisable to be able to open a window to allow fresh air to circulation to minimize mental fatigue.

2. Seating

While you want the office chair to be adjustable in all the right areas to accommodate the best seated position to your desk, you may be just stuck with your dining room chair. Some work arounds this could be:

  • Cushions – this not only allows you to sit comfortably on the chair and avoid a discomfort in your glutes and sitting bones after a short period of time but it can also raise your sitting height to your desk (or dining table as the case may be). This helps position your elbows at a better angle to the work surface and minimise raised shoulders places additional strain on your neck.  
  • A pillow can make things a little more comfortable on the back rest, while a rolled-up towel can act as some lumbar support. The image below, I used a belt to hold the towel in place suitable to my lumbar region, you can adjust to your own comfort range. This can give that little extra support to your lower back and help prevent that dreaded slouched posture or flatting of the back when seated with no/poor back support.


3. Monitor position

This is important to avoid the extreme neck deviation associated with laptops or poorly positioned monitors. The screens orientation often dictates good seated position so once you have the seat set-up its time to look at your monitor. You want the monitor height to sit comfortably in your resting eye level, (~10o – 15o below the horizontal) in other words, approximately the top third of the screen is at eye level. Here are some different options depending on your situation.

  • Books (image 2a &2b below) – simple but effective, grab yourself several books, shoe boxes, anything stable that will support your laptop to raise it to optimum height. I would strongly advise where you can purchase a keyboard and mouse, these a relatively cheap online or if you can borrow them from your workplace where if you still have to opportunity.
  • A good investment for anyone on the move with their laptop is a portable riser as shown below (image 2c,2d & 2e below), this can be quickly folded away and saves space.
  • There has been a lot of talk about sit/stand workstations (image 2f & 2g below), the key principle behind these are to facilitate and promote a change of posture in the worker to avoid the prolonged static positions (either too long sitting or standing). Who says you can’t D.I.Y it? (kind of!); below is an example where a small pot stand/table was placed on the dining table to position the monitor to eye level while in a standing posture. A storage box was used to position the keyboard at the standing elbow height, this allows the user to stand for a period of time, granted this may take a bit of effort to set-up but if you have the space and it is stable it can offer the option than sitting for most of the day.

4. Set a routine

It can be hard to differentiate between your home time and work time when they seem to occupy the same space. Structure your day so you can block off time as best you can to do work, but once that is complete shut it away to allow sufficient down time, go for a walk, go out to your garden, cooking a health meal etc. this is important for your mental health and long term productivity. We are habitual creatures and like structure, so control what you can control.

5. Movement!

The last point, but arguable the most important. This slightly ties in with point 4 by setting a routine but structuring your work so that you can physically move away from your workstation to change posture and move the body. Frequent movement helps avoid the static postures that can place strain on the body over the working day, this can be as simple of getting up and filling a glass a water (hydration always imperative for the mind and muscles). The benefit of working from home is just that you are in your own space so doing those stretches, Pilates/yoga moves in the morning or on lunch, you don’t have to worry about those funny looks from your work colleagues and helps keep you mobile and alert.

Chris Mee Group offer a fully rounded Ergonomic service to our Clients. From Online Display Screen Equipment Awareness training, classroom based Ergonomics courses and Ergonomic Assessment consultancy, Chris Mee Group have a solution for individuals and companies of every size.

Have a question? Chat to us instantly by clicking the chat box in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Alternatively, you can fill in an enquiry form below.

Matthew Culloty 

Ergonomic & Safety Consultant at Chris Mee Group


The steps Your workplace can take to start the mental health and wellness conversation.

By Avril Pratt

What is mental health?

Mental health is the way we think and feel and our ability to deal with ups and downs and is something we all have. Having good mental health allows us to have a sense of purpose and direction, energy to do the things we want to do, and the ability to deal with the challenges that happen in our lives.

More than ever before, being busy at work is often seen as a badge of honour but there’s a fine line between busyness and burnout. Here at CMSE we understand how to recognise this tipping point.

In fact, 40% of employees are neglecting various aspects of their lives because due to their jobs. While one in three have admitted to be feeling down or unhappy as a result of their working hours , leading to an increase of 18% of workplace absences resulting in work-related stress, anxiety and depression? (, 2020)

What laws and regulations are there to deal with mental health in the Work Place?

It is crucial for employers and employees to know about their legislative rights and responsibilities in relation to mental health at work. Two of the most relevant pieces of legislation with regards to mental health are the Employment Equality Acts 1998–2011 and the Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. (, 2020)

The purpose of the Employment Equality Acts 1998–2011 is to promote equality and prohibit discrimination across several grounds, including the ground most relevant to mental health: disability.

Under the Health and welfare at work act 2005, employers are required to have in place and adhere to a safety statement which outlines in detail, the measures taken to provide a safe and healthy workplace. Employers are also required to insure they are informed on the codes of practice on bullying and harassment in the workplace. In determining the psychosocial hazards that an employee may be exposed to in the workplace at any given time, the employer should:

  • Identify potential psychosocial hazards in the workplace and detail the control measures to address the risk associated with these hazards, followed by informing the employees on the various hazards.
  • Consult with all employees, including employees with disabilities, and seeking other expert advice as necessary. (, 2020)

How employers can look after their employees’ mental health

Employers have a duty to fulfil, this is to care for their staff by taking appropriate steps to support them through any wellbeing-related issue. Although every person’s mental health journey is unique, and here are four ways to forge a path for open conversations about mental health and wellness in the workplace. (, 2020)


1. Promote a work/life balance.

Commending employees who work late and arrive early, or expecting them to work from home in the evenings inevitably, leads to hurting your company in the long run. Without implementing a healthy work/life balance, productivity is likely to decline, and employees are more likely to burn out.

Encouragement should be given everyone to develop a rich, full life outside of the office and results have proven that people who engage in hobbies, spend time with loved ones, and take time to care for themselves make better and healthier employees.

2. Discuss mental health in the workplace.

Make the workplace an open space where people aren’t afraid to bring up issues related to stress, depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. A caring and comforting conversation between a supervisor and an employee could be instrumental in encouraging an individual to get help. Make it clear that everyone struggles to stay mentally healthy sometimes.

3. Set up a network

Organisations should imbed wellbeing into the workplace by setting up a network of mental health coaches. These coaches can offer external services, such as informal chats or to provide professional advice on mental health.

4. Get moving

Take a break from your desk, stand up, and move around every 30 minutes or so. Walking during lunch is a will not only burn calories, but you’re refocusing and refreshing, which leads to a fresh mind, enabling you to perform to the best of your ability.


Similar Topics

  • Article: Mental Health in the Workplace. Click Here
  • Training: Mental Health Courses in Dublin, Cork and Online Click Here
  • Article: Remote Working and Employee Mental Health Click Here
  • Article: ‘Be a Teapot not a Pressure Cooker’ Mental Health Courses Click Here

Remote Working and Employee Mental Health

Remote Working Balance

The “millennial effect” is a key driver behind the rise in remote working. Giving employees the ability to work remotely can attract highly skilled employees that might not otherwise be interested in a role and can be particularly beneficial to companies in remote areas or locations with skills shortages.


Higher Productivity, Improved morale, Lower costs and flexible schedules – These are just some of the plethora of Pro’s we read about when researching benefits of remote working but What are the Con’s to consider when it comes to remote working?


Buffer’s 2019 annual report surveys almost 2500 remote workers to understand the struggles that come with remote work.  The most common downsides noted in regard to remote work were;

  • the inability to unplug,
  • loneliness,
  • difficulty collaborating.

It was also noted that remote workers feel that there is an “always-on” culture and that working at home can lead to longer hours than they would have in a traditional office setting.


Does your company offer the choice to work remotely? If so, how does your company identify that a team member is in mental distress or experiencing a mental health crisis?

Does your Line Manager, Supervisor or Human Resources department understand the common signs and symptoms for mental health problems?


CMSE Training are now offering a 1 day Supporting Employees in Mental Distress/Ill Health Course Programme. The course helps participants gain an understanding of how to offer appropriate support and signpost where help can be obtained.  Read more about this course.


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Risk Assessments – What are they and Who needs one?

What is a Risk Assessment?

A Risk Assessment is where an employer writes down any hazards or risks which could cause harm to people in the workplace and what control measures can be done or precautions could be taken to prevent harm. The overall aim of Risk Assessment is to reduce the risk of injury and illness associated with work.


A Risk Assessment comprises of three steps;

Step 1 is identifying hazards

Step 2 is the assessment of risks

Step 3 is putting control measures in place.


What’s a Hazard?
A hazard is anything with the potential to cause harm in terms of human injury or ill health, including;
·         work materials,
·         equipment,
·         work methods or practices,
·         poor work design
·         exposure to harmful agents such as chemicals, noise or vibration.
What’s a Risk?
A risk is the likelihood that somebody will be harmed by the hazard and how serious the harm might be.
The number of people at risk from the hazard should also be considered when you think of Risk.

Under Section 19 of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, every employer is required to identify hazards in their workplace. In addition, the employer must assess the risk from identified hazards and have a written risk assessment of the risks as they apply to persons exposed to them in the workplace.

The HSA outlines that Risk Assessments must:

  • Address significant hazards and risks
  • Apply to all aspects of the work including lone work, shift work and work away from the main workplace
  • Cover routine and non-routine operations including maintenance and breakdowns


CMSE Consultancy undertake many different types of risk assessments across many sectors from general workplace assessments and task risk assessment to specialist areas such as ergonomic, chemical agents, fire, machinery, confined space and ATEX.

Risk assessments are conducted in conjunction and consultation with your onsite representatives to ensure the quality and validity of the risk assessment as well as raising health and safety awareness with your personnel.

Your CMSE Consultant can provide risk assessments systems, formats and templates for use at your organisation. Site specific training programmes can also be developed and delivered to meet your organisations requirements.

Do you have a question about the Risk Assessments?


How To Write an Eye-catching CV

Here are the 10 tips can help:

  1. Keep it relatively short and simple, a standard CV should be no more than 2 pages. Save the detailed explanations for the interview.
  2. Put the job responsibilities in bullet point form, instead of a long paragraph. This makes it easier for interviewers and recruiters to read.
  3. Put your LinkedIn URL so people can learn more about you and connect.
  4. Use a standard font and size. Keep it consistent. Grammar and spell check your CV.
  5. Don’t leave any unexplained gaps and make sure your CV is current and UpToDate.
  6. Focus more on your achievements rather than responsibilities. Have a STAR Approach prepared for interviews based on your key achievements.
  7. Tailor make your CV for each job. Research the company or the job description and work out exactly what skills to point out the hiring managers.
  8. Have a summary/achievement section top of your CV.
  9. Read your CV as if you were the interviewer. Better yet get a colleague or a friend to read it and provide feedback.
  10. Believe that you are the best person applying for the job!


Candidates and Clients are always very welcome to contact our team at CMSE Recruitment for confidential, professional advice. Call 1850 315 415 or email [email protected] .


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