You think that working from home is all Jeremy Kyle, litres of ice cream and pyjamas, and then suddenly they invented the smartphone. And wi
You think that working from home is all Jeremy Kyle, litres of ice cream and pyjamas, and then suddenly they invented the smartphone. And wi-fi. Ah. Did you know that over half of home-workers (51%) have sustained injuries, aches and pains as a result of their working environment? Meanwhile, some workers are stacked up with 15 hour days that never end and a twitch from their smartphone. Why, suddenly the office sounds appealing….
Longer working hours
Nearly half (47%) of workers say they work longer hours when at home compared to their primary place of work, and often longer than stated in their contract. Over a prolonged period this can result in increased levels of fatigue and stress.
However, the study found that working from home does also come with a range of health benefits. The flexible nature of home working means that three in five (58%) are able to build exercise into their day, and the same proportion say they eat more healthily. Two thirds (66%) say they are able to take regular breaks from their work area, which is good for both mental and physical health.
If it’s not bed sores then it’s that hunch. If you work from home you could be well on your way to being more curled up than a pretzel.
Home workers are 10 per cent1 more likely than those working in a ‘traditional’ workplace to suffer an injury and one in four (25%) home-workers do not have a dedicated workspace at home and half (50%) of home-workers admit to hunching over while working. 40 per cent said they regularly work from their bed or sofa, all of these factors increase the risk of musculoskeletal injury, with the most common problems experienced being backache (24%) and neck-ache (20%)!
In a world where the ‘ding’ of a smartphone causes a pavlovian response, are homeworkers more vulnerable to feeling a bit ruff?
Working at home means you might excuse yourself to pop on a washing load, something generally frowned upon in a Fortune 5600 company. That means that you need the sound on your laptop and phone. The problem is that ding of an email never ends and it starts to become a distraction. You start to check your devices compulsively and lose focus. Did you know we touch our phones hundreds of times a day?
Home workers should treat their email inbox as they would at the office – a helpful gadget and mail delivery service, and not the master of them!
It’s still a pretty good gig….
Homeworkers still have it great though – going back a few hundred years, can you imagine a lifestyle where you could do you days work AND manage to sneak in a few episodes of Stranger Things by 7pm, with no commute, snacks on tap and no co-workers to grind you down? It’s truly the dream, if you manage it well.
As for the things you can change – we spoke to Bupa who advised us to tackle some health issues by doing the following:
- Sit in a chair where your feet can reach the floor, or are supported by a footrest
- Ensure your monitor is at least an arm’s length away from you and the top of the monitor is at eye level
- Try to use a hands-free phone line and avoid typing/writing with a phone between your ear and shoulder, as this can lead to neck problems
- Try to break more regularly than you would in an office as your posture is likely to be worse at home, ideally every 20 – 30 minutes
- Make time to stretch out to avoid stiffness, particularly if you spend a long period of time in the same position