Human Factors & Ergonomics

Remote and Mobile Working

Changes in technology and ways of working have resulted in a larger proportion of the population working away from traditional workplaces.  There are now estimated to be 1 million people in the UK who spend the majority of their work time away from a home or office base, either on the road or with clients.  Some examples of these occupations include sales people, engineers and installers.

Our research has identified a number of key issues for remote and mobile workers including high levels of psychological distress and musculoskeletal symptoms. A number of factors were found to mediate these factors, including long hours, high driving mileage, and limited contact with managers and co-workers.

These are areas where IOM ergonomists and other experts can advise:

  • Vehicle ergonomics and choice of vehicles
  • Musculoskeletal assessment
  • Assessment of mental wellbeing
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Lone working
  • Journey planning and local knowledge
  • Occupational health advice including health promotion and increasing physical activity

The IOM has prepared guidance with the British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF) based on research work we have undertaken.  This work took a three pronged approach, including a systematic review, field interviews and a questionnaire survey.  The final research report is available at http://www.bohrf.org.uk/downloads/224E05_Final_Report-December_2009.pdf.

Download a copy of our free guidance for managers of remote and mobile workers.