Fusion survey finds that working from home could trigger a new set of work-related health issues

A number of recent surveys and studies have looked at the effects of COVID-19 on employees and the workplace. 

Considering the impact that the pandemic has had on both the mental and physical health and wellbeing of employees, we decided to undertake our own study into the implications of remote working.

New health problems in the new normal

Many people are enjoying the work/life balance and productivity benefits of working from home.

However, there may be a hidden wave of related health concerns on the horizon as people’s lifestyle and working environments change drastically.

Our study of people working from home found that 42% of people had experienced increased back and neck pain.

And as many as 32% of people admitted struggling with their mental health as a result of the change.

As well as back pain and mental health issues, health concerns include a lack of exercise and sleep disorders, which could lead to a host of secondary ailments such as varicose veins, obesity and joint pain.

The changing landscape of occupational health

Margaret Laurie, Clinical Director here at Fusion Occupation Health had this to say.

“Employers are going to have to consider a new set of occupational health hazards. Health surveillance is still a statutory requirement while employees are working remotely, and the team at Fusion has seen the landscape of health-related issues change markedly in response to adaptations in people’s working environment. As a result, we've seen a huge spike in demand for our emotional wellbeing questionnaire.”

Five tips for remote workers to minimise the risk of ill health

Kerry McNeil, Chief Medical Officer at Fusion, has put together these tips to help remote workers minimise the risk of ill health while working from home:

1. Take regular breaks away from your workstation. This will not only help to improve circulation but is also good for your mental health.

2. Finish working at least a few hours before going to bed. Studies have shown that the blue light from computer screens has a negative effect on sleep patterns.

3. Make sure your workstation is set up correctly so that you have the correct posture. Your back should be straight and your screen at head height. This will reduce the stress on your shoulders, neck and back.

4. Keep an eye on your mental health and if you notice yourself feeling stressed, down or overworked, take an extended break and do something you enjoy.

5. Get regular exercise. Instead of your commute, go for a jog or take a brisk walk to start the day. Exercise releases endorphins, which will help you start the day on the right foot.

Adapting occupational health services

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have had to adapt to the changing face of the workplace.

For the same reason, businesses should also adapt and evolve the occupational health services they offer to their staff.

Employers should actively screen remote employees and their working environment to ensure their health and safety.

If you’d like to find out more about our working-from-home survey and the occupational health services that we can offer to support its findings, contact the team at Fusion today.

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Categories: CoronavirusEmployeesFusion NewsHealth & WellbeingMental HealthOccupational Health

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