Home working: are we headed for another ‘pandemic’ of back pain and mental ill-heath?

   Home working: are we headed for another ‘pandemic’ of back pain and mental ill-heath?

2020 was the year when many transitioned to hybrid working or became full-time homeworkers.

But employees and employers are now facing the physical and mental health implications of this change.

Without proper support in place for those working from home, there could be long term affects to homeworker’s wellbeing, both physical and mental, which is why having conversations about musculoskeletal  diseases is something every organisation and employees should be conducting. If we fail at this we could see another pandemic of back pain and mental health conditions connected to remote working.

During lockdown, people who switched to working from home experienced health and wellbeing impacts, with the most common being feeling less connected to colleagues (67%), taking less exercise (46%), developing musculoskeletal problems (39%) and disturbed sleep (37%).*

It’s crucial that teams now working from home collaborate together to properly create the right conditions so that everyone can enjoy fulfilling and healthy lives.

We already know that there is a strong link between physical health and mental health, in fact there are many studies which have shown that doing physical activity can improve mental health.

Regular exercise has been linked to better sleep, happier moods and stress management, which is all beneficial to our mental health.

However, when working from a desk across the working day, having a working environment conducive to the physical health of workers is crucial to avoid long term health impacts.

The Back Pain in Lockdown Survey found that homeworkers who did not have musculoskeletal problems pre-COVID had seen a reduction in their physical activity, which in turn increases their risk of musculoskeletal issues developing.

It also found that, regarding people with musculoskeletal conditions already who had started working from home, that only 53% of respondents confirmed that they had their equipment needs met and 40% reported that they had not being able to make changes or access support to be in work during the pandemic.

The wellbeing of our teams underpins the health of our workplace.

There are a range of EUOSHA/RoSPA free resources here to help, download them, use them then share your experience with us to let us know how you get on.

RoSPA supports the HSE's message that risks from MSDS must be controlled and that all employers should eliminate or reduce these risks at source where possible.

Dr Karen McDonnell, RoSPA’s OSH Policy Adviser

* https://www.rsph.org.uk/about-us/news/survey-reveals-the-mental-and-physical-health-impacts-of-home-working-during-covid-19.html
Posted: 6/16/2021 9:35:27 AM 0 comments


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