A survey of 600 office professionals working from home during the Coronavirus Outbreak has found that over 40 % of respondents are already feeling aches and pains from working from home. For people working from home there may be an increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders due to reduced movement and poor arrangement of work equipment. Sub-optimal ways of working may also lead to feelings of stress/anxiety, which is also a musculoskeletal risk factor.

The survey, commissioned by workplace and home office ergonomic specialists Healthy Home & Office reports that over 55% of people working from home have had no guidance or advice from their employers to assist them in setting up the best possible working environment to help with longer term comfort. Surprisingly, 60% of respondents are still working from their beds, sofa, dining room table or the floor.

Despite working remotely, employers still have a duty of care to uphold; therefore normal office health and safety requirements equally apply to employees working from home. By law, employers are responsible for the health and safety of all employees, including those working from home. An employer should check that each employee has the right equipment to work safely. While It may be tempting and comfortable to work from bed or the sofa, you might create more stress for yourself later on.

Around a third of respondents said they felt disappointed with the response they had had from managers when they bought up issues of home office set up, with two thirds reporting that they haven’t even been informed how long they will work from home for.

“Companies should wake up to the fact that happy and well staff hold the keys to the kingdom” says Phil Johns, MD of Healthy Home Office. “It is essential that employers and employees review their home working policies and guidelines to ensure that however staff are working at home that everyone is aware of the potential risks and aware of what they can do to address potential problem areas; reduced risks will result in improved comfort, and improved comfort will result in healthier/happier staff which results in maintained or possibly even improved productivity”

40% or respondents say that they are suffering from some level of discomfort, or aches and pains – this has also been confirmed by a number of visitors to our showroom over recent weeks, many of these visits are from individuals that have purchased a single product without looking at how it interacts with the overall workplace/space and other equipment that they may be using. Many people suffer from various aches and pains when working at a desk and we have workstation assessments to try and avoid the problems where possible, so we were very surprised when 60% of respondents tell us that they are working from Kitchen Worktop, Dining table, Sofa or Bed – these are all a potential causes of problems/discomfort if not assessed correctly, and some (Sofa and Bed) should just not be considered for working for any length of time at all.

On top of this 65% of respondents still have no idea of when or even if they are going back to the Office, so they will be looking at working from home for a far greater length of time than originally thought, so today’s minor aches and pains could well turn into a long term chronic problems. One of the most surprising things from the survey was that over 55% of people working from home have had no guidance or advice from their employers! to assist them in setting up the best possible working environment to try and assist with longer term comfort.

Workers also need to be careful to maintain boundaries or you may also start to feel like you’re always at work and losing a place to come home to. Being “always at work” doesn’t sound like anyone’s idea of a balanced lifestyle. This is another reason to stay out of bed or off the sofa while working, but also have a space dedicated to work and another dedicated to relaxing.”

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For more information please contact Sara Carter  sara@healthy-homeoffice.com / 07860 352717