Continued home working risks physical health

Long-term home working poses a threat to employee’s physical health and requires closer HR attention.

According to a survey by furniture site Furniture At Work, over half (54%) of respondents said that they aren’t sitting at a proper desk to work while working from home, which can lead to serious back problems due to incorrect posture.

Twenty-seven per cent of respondents said that they have been working from their kitchen table and 15% have set up office on their sofa.

Asked about the amount of physical activity they had done, 37% of workers said they were also doing less exercise when working from home. The lack of a commute was cited as the main reason employees were less physically active.

This could be cause for concern for HR teams who must make sure health and wellbeing strategies are carried out outside of the office.

Emma Clayton, HR professional and health and safety co-ordinator at Furniture At Work, said that continued home working without appropriate office equipment such as desks means employees are at risk of physical health issues.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “This means that carrying out those DSE checks (workstation assessments) and ensuring staff are provided with the equipment they need is more important than ever.”

When working from home, employees have also been exercising less frequently and have developed poor eating habits.  

Just 26% said they had managed to improve their diet when working at home and 37% saying they’d eaten more unhealthy food.

The survey found that men (55%) were 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.

Clayton added: “It can be so easy to neglect the health of your employees when they’re ‘out of sight, out of mind’ at home.

“But as the research shows, it is important that employers remain mindful of health and safety in the workplace even when staff aren’t in your premises.”

Furniture At Work surveyed 2,000 office-based workers who had been home working during the pandemic in January 2021.


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