Our latest research reveals the extent of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) use in small businesses and the related concerns employers have regarding eyesight. The research was carried out for us by YouGov and surveyed more than 320 employees in small businesses. It found that 84% of employees in small businesses spend at least an hour a day using DSE for work purposes and 72% spend at least four hours a day working with DSE. Perhaps most astounding, however, is that almost half (49%) of employees in small businesses spend at least seven hours a day at a digital screen – nearly their entire working day.


Eyecare benefits

Despite these figures, just 17% of employees in small businesses stated they receive eyecare benefits from their employer, such as free or subsidised eye tests or glasses. This compares to 43% in medium-sized businesses and 56% in large-scale organisations.  A significant 9% of small-business employees did not know if they received eyecare benefits and nearly three quarters (74%) stated they did not receive any eyecare from their employer.


Need for communication

The working hours people are spending in front of screens is, of course, likely to have increased over recent years but some employers may be surprised by quite how much time their employees now spend using DSE. This makes it more important than ever for employers to offer eyecare. It is a stipulation of the Health and Safety regulations that all screen users should receive company-funded eyecare and glasses, if required solely for DSE use. The regulations apply to organisations of all sizes and a business employing just one person who falls under the category of ‘screen user’ must provide that person with eyecare.


Employer concerns

The research went on to also survey over 230 senior HR decision makers at small businesses in the UK. Of these, over a third (34%) said they were concerned about employees’ eyesight as a result of their use of display screen equipment in their working role. Linked to this, 34% of employers in small businesses were concerned that employees spend too much time on display screen equipment in their working role – in other words, more time than is healthy for their eyes.


With the level of use of DSE in the workplace today, employers are bound to be concerned about their employees’ eyesight. Implementing a simple eyecare policy is not only obligatory under health and safety legislation, it can also have much wider benefits in terms of health, wellbeing, productivity and morale. Eyecare is one area where small businesses can punch above their weight in terms of benefits provision as it is available at low cost, with virtually no administration and without the need for contracts or high membership numbers, through, for example, our eVoucher schemes.


For further information on the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations and free downloadable communications materials visit: www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate/employers.


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