U.K.: Left-Handed Employees Report Problems at Work

Bloomberg Law for HR Professionals is a complete, one-stop resource, continuously updated, providing HR professionals with fast answers to a wide range of domestic and international human resources...

By Rick Vollmar

Aug. 20—About 20 percent of left-handed employees in the U.K. find that their disambiguation causes them problems on the job, according to research by online job board CV-Library.

As reported in HR Review, CV-Library's research found that about 12 percent of the British workforce (roughly 4.5 million people) are left handed, and one in five of these (about 825,000 employees) has problems at work because the equipment they use has been designed for right-handed people.

According to Keith Milsom, owner of Anything Left Handed as quoted by HR Review: “Left-handers face real, practical challenges at work, from conducting simple tasks, such as having to use right-handed scissors that don’t cut, to persevering with entire workstations being laid out incorrectly, making them difficult and uncomfortable to use.”

CV-Library found that only 25.4 percent of employers provide left-handed staff with equipment suited to their handedness, although over 80 percent of employees think they should, and over 95 percent of British employers don't even inquire whether a person favors right or left hand.

As HR Review reported, CV-Library research found that addressing the needs of left-handed employees would be relatively inexpensive: “For office workers in particular, specially designed left-handed stationery, keyboards, scissors and other computer accessories are readily available at reasonable costs, leaving little excuse for employers not to provide satisfactory equipment for their staff.”

According to Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library: “Businesses need to provide staff with the right tools to do the job. Most professional organizations should already be conducting work-station assessments for all of their employees and this should form a simple part of that process. It is within a company’s interest to quickly identify an employee’s needs and provide suitable equipment so they are able to work effectively. This will not only improve productivity, but also makes each team member feel valued and cared for, which is important in the workplace.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rick Vollmar at rvollmar@bna.com

The HR Review story is available at http://www.hrreview.co.uk/hr-news/strategy-news/20-left-handed-employees-face-problems-workplace/58739, more information on CV-Library at http://www.cv-library.co.uk/.

For more information on British HR law and regulation, see the U.K. primer.

Request Bloomberg Law for HR Professionals