Only 46% of those working from home are sitting at a desk, risking severe back issues alongside other health problems caused by working from home, according to a survey carried out by B2B furniture ecommerce site Furniture At Work.
The research, which surveyed 2,000 office-based workers who’d been forced into home working, found that men (55%) are more likely to have a desk for working from home than women (41%), whereas nearly one-in-five (18%) 16 to 24-year-olds said they regularly worked from their bed.
It’s not just our working environments that could be affecting our health when working from home. There’s also been a change to eating habits, with only 26% saying they’d managed to improve their diet when working at home and 37% saying they’d eaten more unhealthy food.
When it came to physical activity and fitness, 37% of respondents said they were doing less exercise when working from home, added to the lack of a commute for employees and almost four-in-ten people have become much less physically active since they started working from home.
This mixture of poor diet, lack of activity and unsuitable working conditions has begun to have a noticeable effect for people, with 40% saying they wish they’d exercised more, with 31% saying they wish they’d devised and stuck to a fitness regime. A third of respondents (33%) also had regrets about their diet and wished they’d stuck to a more balanced diet.
The survey also found a difference between males and females when it came to their health. Men were finding more time to do exercise, with 27% managing over half an hour a day, compared to just 19% of women. Some of this may be explained by the disproportionate amount of time spent on household tasks, women were much more likely to spend time doing laundry (60% of women to 42% of men), cleaning the house (44% compared to 35%) and washing dishes (53% to 42%).
A spokesperson for Furniture At Work said, “Working from home was forced upon a large percentage of the UK’s population last year, with may of us feeling unprepared to turn our homes into an office. Unfortunately, this means that over half of the usually office-based population have been left working from kitchen tables, sofas and even their beds, leading to serious concerns about how this could affect the physical health of workers.
“Add to this the fact that only 22% of workers are managing over 30 minutes exercise a day and we can see that the health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could be much further reaching than first thought. It’s up to employers to help support their teams and ensure their workspace is suitable and safe. Our Ergonomic Home Office guide provides a useful resource to help get this right and keep employees happy, healthy and productive.”