This Government 'Work From Home' Ad Has Been Branded 'Irresponsible'

"Every online meeting is making a difference," the advert reads. Really, though?

A government advert encouraging people to work from home has been branded “irresponsible” by the British Safety Council.

The ad “inappropriately” uses a picture of a woman sitting cross-legged on a sofa and using a laptop, it said.

While the scene may be familiar to many of us who’ve worked from home this past year, the council argue this shows a lack of understanding for health and safety issues and the problems that can arise from a poor work set-up.

The government is being urged to withdraw the advert immediately as it “implies people working from home should be working from their sofas”.

Its tagline – ‘every online meeting is making a difference’ – is unlikely to sit well either for the millions who say they’re in video meetings hell since WFH.

Let’s be honest: every meeting does not make a difference.

British Safety Council

“The government should be leading by example on health and safety matters but has fallen well short with this advert, which sends the wrong message about worker health and wellbeing,” said Mike Robinson, chief executive at the British Safety Council of the “making a difference campaign”.

“The government advert risks legitimising poor practice, the costs of which ultimately end up on the NHS, at a time it is hard pressed in managing COVID and the largest vaccine rollout programme ever in the UK.

The Institute for Employment Studies carried out a home worker wellbeing survey between March and April 2020 and the results – based on 500 responses – revealed a significant increase in musculoskeletal complaints.

More than half of survey respondents reported new aches and pains, especially in the neck (58%), shoulder (56%) and back (55%), compared to their normal physical condition.

Physios have also seen a rise in under 40s reporting hip complaints. “A sudden change in lifestyle can really affect how the body is able to deal with exercise and posture changes, as your body needs time to adapt,” one told HuffPost UK.


In a statement to HuffPost UK, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “Our campaign activity reaches an estimated 95% of adults on average 17 times per week at their peak and utilises a wide range of channels – including TV, radio and social – to ensure the public get the information they need to stay safe.”

But Robinson said the ad campaign should be withdraw straightaway, adding: “We would happily advise the government on what is a more appropriate picture for its message.”