HR & Management

Published

The struggle of the left-handed employee

4 Mins

This year will mark the 24th outing of the annual celebration, which is designed as a way of “raising awareness among the right-handed majority of the different talents and needs of left-handers, particularly children”.

While the average right-handed individual may think that an awkward exchange during handshakes would be all a left-handed person would need to worry about, there’s more to it.

Recruitment firm CV-Library has found that 12 per cent of the British workforce, which amounts to 4.5m employees, is left-handed. Of those lefties, more than 852,000 people are said to be experiencing certain struggles throughout the working day – a result of avoiding the mainstream right-handed lifestyle.

Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, is a leftie. He lived vicariously on screen through left-handed entrepreneur Ned Flanders who opened a left-handed store called The Leftorium.

Keith Milsom, meanwhile, is the real life Ned Flanders and owns 1968-founded Anything Left-Handed – “the first specialist left-handed business in the world”. It stocks everything from stationery to watches to instruments and sporting goods.

Read more from the surreal business world:

The study found that 96.7 per cent of employers don’t check whether new staff members are left-handed, and just 25.4 per cent supply left-handed team members with specialist equipment. It’s a stark contrast to the 82.4 per cent of employees that think employers have a duty of care to cater to left-handed workers.

Milsom, also the brain behind National Left-Handers Day, said: “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.

“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.”

Elsewhere, five per cent of the UK’s workforce is ambidextrous, and would like the choice between left or right-handed equipment.

“Businesses need to provide staff with the right tools to do the job. Most professional organisations should already be conducting work-station assessments for all of their employees and this should form a simple part of that process,” said Lee Biggins, founder and MD of CV-Library.

“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.”

Share this story

How a former journalist went from “poacher turned gamekeeper” to set up a PR agency
Lambeth Council follows Camden and Kingston to finance small firms via Funding Circle
Send this to a friend