With 276,000 staff worldwide PwC is the second-largest professional services firm in the world. PwC is a diverse global business network bound together by a purpose to build trust in society and solve important problems.
PwC UK has 25,000 staff working in 20 offices. They are an ISO 45001 certified employer who provide their workforce with safe and healthy workplaces by preventing work-related injury, ill health and by proactively improving OH&S performance.
Thousands of employees “glued to their desks”
PwC UK has thousands of highly qualified employees working long hours at their computers. The two biggest risks to their teams health and well being are are mental health challenges and musculoskeletal injuries.
PwC UK have made a strong business commitment, including ergonomics in the workplace, to protecting the well being of their people flowing from legal requirements and from the business imperative to protect the firm’s reputation as a first-class employer while reducing risks of prosecution or loss.
The firm had in place a legacy online DSE assessment solution to address the risks of musculoskeletal injuries across its workforce. But its feature set was found to be limited and the support being provided by the DSE software supplier was not sufficient. There was also no ergonomics management reporting to aid in HSE decision making.
Why did PwC move to Wellnomics?
For several years PwC had been using the WorkPace stretching APP, which was the first stretch break software application produced by Wellnomics, to mitigate any emergent MSD/RSI issues faced by individual employees. PwC had a very good experience with the WorkPace stretching at work break software which was only installed, by request, on the computers of staff who had presented to Occupational Health with ergonomic issues or musculoskeletal/RSI injuries.
The PwC Health and Safety team, many of whom come from a Sports Science background, work closely with the HR team to deliver a global well-being strategy which is called ‘Be well, work well’. When the team were introduced to the new Wellnomics workplace ergonomics suite they immediately saw the system’s potential to contribute to the delivery of the firm’s HR strategy by improving worker health and safety right across the organization.
As Lesley Davies, the head of Health, Safety and Environment, says:
“We liked Wellnomics different, more holistic approach to worker health. Wellnomics looks at an office worker with a well-rounded perspective, addressing multiple areas of their well being, workstation set up and physical activity. This is better than our previous software which simply registered whether a user had a separate keyboard or a mouse.”
Initially PwC purchased a limited number of licenses of the newly released Wellnomics system for approved use by high risk individuals flagged by Occupational Health. But as word of the new system spread, demand grew. So PwC have now moved to making Wellnomics available to any UK staff that requested it – without authorization.
Wellnomics workplace ergonomic assessment software has tended to be strongly adopted by specific groups within PwC, once they see how well it works to improve ergonomic issues and how easy it is to use. As an example, IT “absolutely loved it” and have been adopting the ergonomic workstation system very quickly.
Which features of Wellnomics are PwC using?
The Wellnomics ergonomic workspace management system is is a comprehensive set of human factors, WorkPace stretching app and ergonomic setup tools to improve workstation ergonomic issues and workplace well-being. PwC are making use of the full ergonomic checklist of features that come with their Wellnomics office ergonomics system. These include:
Online ergonomics training for computer users
This feature, including wide ranging office ergonomics guidelines and ergonomics tips, has proven particularly helpful during Covid-19. PWCs Health and Safety team are able to give staff, who are working from home, a remote ergonomics training session, office ergonomics guidelines and ergonomics tips to help them understand workstation ergonomics and to manage their own risks of injury.
Online workstation ergonomics assessments
Again, this feature of Wellnomics has proven invaluable during Covid-19. PwC’s Health and Safety team of ergonomic consultants have been able to conduct remote workplace ergonomic assessments of the workstation set up of PwC employees who are experiencing any ergonomic issues as they work from home or if they are requesting any new ergonomic solutions or equipment.
Real time Stretch Break coaching for users (WorkPace)
PwC have been using the WorkPace take a break app feature of Wellnomics office ergonomics software, to encourage ergonomic stretching at work, for several years in its original guise of the WorkPace stretch break App. This office ergonomic workstation software helps PwC to help encourage workplace stretches and mitigate ergonomic issues and prevent musculoskeletal issues (RSI) arising from the long hours their people tend to work.
Management reporting on office ergonomics performance
For the first time ever, the HSE and HR teams have real time metrics on workstation ergonomics across the organisation being provided by their new Wellnomics system. This ergonomics data is helping the HSE team to prove their contribution to HR’s mission to create a healthy working environment.
User engagements recording
Wellnomics provides the HSE team with a comprehensive record of HSE engagement with each end user. This includes records of training and assessment, correspondence with HSE, notes, photos and other attachments. These records help PwC’s Health and Safety team to very efficiently provide evidential materials to HR whenever they are dealing with individual cases involving workplace well-being issues.
“Wellnomics has brought in a completely different and better way of looking at our people’s workplace well-being. It also has a lot of new functionality and allows us to so many new things.”
Improving organizational reporting
For years the HSE team had drawn HR’s attention to the health and safety problem of staff “glued to their desks” while engaged in the sustained, high stress work. HSE’s advice to HR had always been based on anecdotal evidence. This all changed with the adoption of Wellnomics. The HSE team now, for the first time, can provide HR with hard data on key areas of concern around people’s well-being. The metrics that are coming out of Wellnomics give very solid evidence to HR. The new data now underpins HR strategy discussions and provides for more informed HR decision making.
“Where previously we were putting forward theories, we can now prove the positive impact HSE’s work has on the business. With Wellnomics reporting, coupled with the workstation assessments that correctly set up the users desks and chairs, we actually have the data to show that we are having a very positive effect on the well-being of PwC employees.
Giving HR instant access to an individual’s Health and Safety history
Historically, when a claim or grievance had arisen from an employee and HR requested the relevant records, HSE would be required to perform time-consuming compilation of information from multiple different HSE systems and sources. Wellnomics has completely streamlined this task. With the individual’s history now all contained within the Wellnomics system, the team can extract the relevant history at the press of a button and produce a report that can be sent straight off to HR. Because Wellnomics allows the HSE team to add photos and notes to the user’s record, those reports are very complete and helpful when required in discussions.
“Pulling the report works well. Wellnomics strong incident reporting capability was a huge selling point for us.”
Making workstation assessments much easier during Covid-19
PwCs Health and Safety assessors’ minds “were blown” by Wellnomics rich ergonomic workspace feature set. It was so different to anything they had experienced. But once the business learned how to use all the features of the system the results have surpassed expectations. “From an assessment point of view – we absolutely love it.”
Since June, with Covid-19, the firm has been putting everyone who requests any new equipment through a remote assessment using Wellnomics. This capability has been a huge help at a time when visiting staff in person is impossible. PwC’s approach to managing HSE for remote workers has been so successful that their competitors are now looking to see how it is done.
“The Wellnomics system is doing everything we wanted it to do, plus quite a bit extra.
It’s really been a huge help for our team with our people working from home, with home office ergonomics concerns. When we talk to other organizations they have often gone for cheaper ergonomic solutions and now they are looking at us and literally copying what we are doing with home office ergonomics.
It’s Wellnomics that’s helping us look good”.
How well has Wellnomics supported PwC’s adoption of the system?
Lesley says “Dealing with Wellnomics has been a good experience. We’ve had a good dialogue and Wellnomics has been very responsive. They listen and even if they say the system doesn’t do something they tend to go away and find a way. Throughout the adoption of the system there have been details that needed some adjustment to suit PwC. We’ve fed those back and Wellnomics have gone off and enhanced the system for us”.
Positive feedback on usability
Wellnomics has been well received by PwC staff. To quote Lesley again: “We’ve had no moans at all. The human factors and ergonomics dashboard is good and gives a helpful well-being snapshot for the user. Wellnomics ergonomic workspace software was originally only going to be for high risk cases, but what we found was people were finding Wellnomics, loving it and actually pushing for wider adoption”.
Results delivered for the firm
The Occupational Health team within PwC benchmark the firms performance on a well-being ergonomic checklist against all the major companies in the Financial Services industry. A key indicator of well-being is the percentage, within all types of cases and claims being referred to them, that are musculoskeletal in nature. PwC’s injury rate is now 30% below the industry average. The HSE team are very proud of that achievement. They see Wellnomics as a key component in the successful suite of measures the firm is employing to deliver that Health and Safety success.
“Wellnomics is seen now as more than just a health and safety ergonomics checklist offering office stretching exercises. Its seen as a well-being benefit.”
Staff workplace ergonomic well-being is at the forefront of PwC’s new office developments. Sit-stand desk use has taken off recently within PwC. Around 10% of all desks going into new PwC offices are sit stand. The firm is even shipping sit-stand desks to some employee’s homes during Covid-19. The HSE team see this trend continuing. Some counterparts in Europe are now at 100% sit stand. The PwC team are therefore looking forward to trying out the new sit-stand desk, stand up app coaching and management software. The stand app will be added to their existing Wellnomics office ergonomics in the workplace software licenses in late 2021.