According to new research from Bupa, people who work from home are more likely to suffer with back and neck injuries.
The findings have revealed that 51 per cent of home-workers have sustained injuries, aches and pains due to their working environment.
A total of 25 per cent of home-workers do not have a dedicated workspace at home, 50 per cent admit to hunching over whilst working, 40 per cent said they regularly work from their beds or sofa.
All of these increase the risk of of musculoskeletal injury, the most commons problems experienced are backache (24 per cent) and neck-ache (20 per cent)
Physical health isn’t the only risk, 47 per cent of workers say they will work longer hours whilst being at home and often longer than stated in their contract. Over a prolonged period, this can increase stress and fatigue.
Despite these findings, the flexible nature from working at home means 58 per cent of those surveyed can build exercise into their day. The same proportion also say they are able to eat more healthily and 66 per cent said they are able to take regular breaks from their work area.
Damian McClelland, Clinical Director for Musculoskeletal Services, Bupa UK said: “Working from home is a flexible benefit which is growing in popularity, however there are physical risks involved if people do not take the same precautions as they do in the workplace.
“Employers ensure their employees have an appropriate workspace at work, if someone doesn’t regularly work from home they may not have ergonomic furniture or the correct technology needed to avoid physical health issues, such as neck and back pain.
“All of this which could result in time off work which is why we have created a home-working health checklist.”
Bupa’s home-working health checklist
- Work in a room with adequate light so you don’t have to strain your eyes
- 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