As far as discrimination in the workplace goes, it’s usually related to age, race, gender or sexual orientation. However, there’s another group of employees whose troubles appear – whether intentionally or not – to be getting overlooked. Research from CV-Library, the job site, has revealed that a large number of employees are experiencing problems at work because they are left-handed.
Timed to coincide with National Left Handers Day, which aims to raise awareness of the everyday issues that ‘lefties’ face in a predominantly right-handed world, the survey of over 2,400 UK employees discovered that 12% of the working population is left-handed, equating to over 4.5 million staff. And one in five – upwards of 852,000 people – face practical problems at work due to their left-handedness.
It goes on to reveal that 96.7% of employers don’t ask employees if they are left-handed, while only a quarter of businesses provide left-handed staff with specialist office equipment and stationery. As one would expect, left-handers are urging employers to take their needs into account; 82.4% of employees believe employers have a duty of care to ensure left-handed staff have adequate tools in the workplace. Moreover, the 5% of the UK’s population that is ambidextrous would like the choice of left- or right-handed equipment.
With left-handed equipment for office workers being available at reasonable costs, it certainly seems as though employers have little excuse not to adequately cater for their left-handed staff.
“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,” said Keith Milsom, owner of Anything Left Handed and initiator of National Left Handers Day. “Unfortunately, we know that, due to the fact that most employers are right-handed themselves, they often fail to realise the problems this can cause. Luckily, those who are left-handed have learnt to adapt in many situations but this shouldn’t be the answer to the problem.”
Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, added: “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.”
It’s about time employers gave lefties a hand.