HR Strange But True!
August 16, 2007

When this editor was an elementary school student, I dreaded any classroom project that involved cutting. I knew that I'd have to fumble around with right-handed scissors even though my brain wanted my left hand to do the work. Cutting a straight line with my right hand was impossible. Needless to say, I never received a "gold star" for any classroom assignment that required scissors. The memories haunt me to this day. That's why the following HR Strange but True! item caught my eye.

An insurance company in the United Kingdom recently offered all its left-handed employees specially designed work tools and supplies to assist their working lives. Kwik-Fit Insurance made the offer in recognition of Left-Handers Day, which took place on August 13 and is organized by the Left-Handers Club.

The company says it has about 100 left-handed employees.

"The issue of left-handedness in the workplace is more serious than you would think, and working in what is effectively a back-to-front environment can be pretty unsettling," says Dorothy Sneddon, an occupational health nurse for the company.

Sneddon says that when left-handed employees come to her for advice on improving the workplace, she takes a lot of different areas into consideration.

"I carry out workstation assessments on a regular basis and put forward suggestions to make them a little friendlier for that specific user, such as having the computer mouse at the other side of the keyboard or even having a left-handed mouse, having the desk phone on the left, the provision of flexible headsets, and having a set of stationery that is specially designed for use in the left hand," she says. "These are all simple steps that can make a huge difference."

She says providing left-handed employees with specially designed work tools and supplies can improve productivity.

The kit the company offered to left-handed employees included a notebook, pen, scissors, counter-clockwise sharpener, and ruler.

"Many of us don't even realize how these items are directed solely for right-handed use," Sneddon says. "To be provided with the correct materials makes our employees much happier and productive in their jobs."

If you are looking for left-handed tools and supplies, the Left-Handers Club has a list of the top 10 products.

Source: Kwik-Fit Insurance

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