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work from home

How to work comfortably from home

In the third of a series of articles, David Preston CEO of Realise reveals how to help your employees comfortably work from home.

Whilst many organisations have embraced homeworking for years, Covid-19 has forced the changes on some companies. If you were one of them, you might like to consider how well this was managed. You see, the practicalities of working from home extend far beyond the issues of ‘trust’ and a quick check on internet speeds.

A recent survey from BUPA revealed a staggering 63% of homeworkers are in pain as a result of their makeshift home offices. The survey showed that around 11 million UK adults have injured their back, neck, hips, knees, wrists or another part of their bodies while working or schooling from home during lockdown.

If you are an employer, did you ask about the physical and spatial considerations when your team were packed off home? Only one in three workers reported having a dedicated workspace in their home. That leaves the majority having to improvise. Figures show 18% work from a sofa or armchair, 17% from a dining or kitchen chair, 12% from a bed and 5% from a beanbag.

Whilst most office workers have desks and ergonomic chairs designed for the purpose, 24% of homeworkers report being hunched over while they work, 18% say they slouch or slump, 23% are balancing their computer on their legs and 21% sit with their back or legs twisted.

Moreover, the study proved that younger people (aged 18-34) are disproportionately affected, reporting the highest levels of neck, hip, knee and wrist pain. They are also twice as likely to work from their bed.

Damian McClelland, clinical director for musculoskeletal services, BUPA, said: “As we move towards the ‘new normal’ where higher levels of working from home are likely to feature, it’s really important to address any pain or discomfort now, to make this sustainable in the long term.”

Only 11% of UK workers in pain at home have sought medical help, with the majority using over-the-counter painkillers, massages or ice baths. More than a quarter have done nothing to relieve their symptoms, risking longer-term damage.

But imagine the benefit of a professional massage, a physiotherapy session, or professional advice? All these options are available for staff to access via an easy to use app, should their employers have the foresight to invest.

Some examples can be found on our website. A points-based system developed and run in association with Juno which allows each employee to tailor the services they feel would suit them best.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution here.