Is working from home a pain in the neck?

Home working and physical health problems

According to the Institute of employment studies, the number of employees working from home has dramatically jumped from 5% to 71% of the working population due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though this has brought some positive changes for workers such as the introduction of flexible working, it has also led many of us to experience a significant decline in our physical health.

In fact, it was reported by the IES Homeworker Wellbeing Survey that 55%, 58% and 56% of home workers experienced musculoskeletal health (MSK) problems with their backs, necks and shoulders respectively. Additionally, Personnel Today reported that four out of five home workers developed some sort of musculoskeletal pain after being obligated to work from home due to the pandemic. Such issues are largely caused by inappropriate home setups forcing employees to adopt unhealthy posture and body movements. Moreover, bad home setups combined with the lack of exercise (due to gyms being closed and time spent outdoors being limited) means our general physical health is very much at risk.

A costly affair

Back pain costs the UK economy £10.7bn every year and can become very costly for employers over time, particularly with a workforce that develops chronic issues related to musculoskeletal health. This is in fact one of the leading causes of sickness absence. Additionally, employees who experience pain (particularly pain caused by their work environment) may suffer from a lack of motivation and become less productive, which can in turn affect a business’ bottom line.

The good news is that the costs related to musculoskeletal problems can be prevented by implementing simple measures to avoid any MSK health issues arising in the first place.

Remedying a workforce in pain

Musculoskeletal problems can largely be avoided with home working health and safety assessments, and more particularly MSK assessments covering home setups and associated posture / body movements. Without the appropriate assessments in place, remote workers may not be aware of the root cause behind their pain.

In spite of this, research from BHSF reported that a staggering 58% of remote workers had not received any kind of guidance from their employers regarding their home setups and how to maintain good musculoskeletal health while working from home. However, it is essential that employers put their employees’ health is at the forefront of their current efforts, particularly in such times when being well and healthy has never been more important.

Simple steps can be taken by employers, such as providing staff with the correct equipment, giving instructions on how to setup a healthy workstation, and completing home working health and safety assessment such as Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessments.

Going the extra mile

Show your workforce you care you with a Bluecrest home test kit. You can choose between 3 different levels of testing assessing a wide range of key health markers, and all of our home test kits include a virtual desk assessment. These comprise of a detailed workstation assessment which pinpoints the exact areas that each employee needs to be change / improve to promote maximum home working comfort and prevent MSK problems.  Your employees will receive clear, personalised guidelines related to their own setup; and will be able to make the correct amendments to avoid future aches and pains.

Contact us now for more information on our home test kits and how we can help you maintain a happy and healthy workforce.