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Working from home has proven to be a steep learning curve for many people. But 18 months into the pandemic, there are some businesses that haven’t looked back since making the switch to remote working and have now decided to close their offices for good. For many employees, this is a welcome move that will put an end to their daily commute – freeing up their time and potentially boosting their mental health.
That said, it is essential that the physical health of home workers is given due consideration. With the sudden introduction of Lockdown in 2020, many employers had little time to organise suitable home workstations for their employees, with many having no choice but to work on their laptop at the kitchen table or at a makeshift desk (in fact, social media was awash with some rather inventive workstations fashioned from ironing boards and cardboard boxes!)
As ingenious as these solutions were, they were certainly not long-term solutions. Here’s why…
Issues that arise from inadequate workstations
An uncomfortable chair or a desk set to an incorrect height can cause a variety of health problems including:
Why it pays to invest in a good quality set-up
With the average person spending around 6.5 hours a day at their desk, any of the health issues listed above is sure to cause distraction, impact negatively on productivity, and potentially lead to the employee needing to take time off. It therefore pays to prevent such problems by investing in a good quality, supportive chair and a desk that can be adapted to the height of the individual – and that applies to every worker, whether they’re working in an office or working from home.
What makes a healthy workstation?
Opt for a chair that can be adjusted in height and one that feels comfortable and supportive. When seated, your feet should be flat on the floor, with your knees slightly lower than your hips.
When seated at the desk, set the height of the chair so that your arms form an ‘L’ shape parallel with the floor, so only your wrists and hands need to move when typing.
Your computer monitor should be about an arm’s length away and positioned at eye level.
Are standing desks the answer?
Sitting for long periods of time has been proven to be detrimental to health – potentially leading to issues such as obesity and heart disease. Standing desks offer an alternative to this sedentary approach to work and can help to improve posture and muscle tone. However, there are ways to improve your health whichever style of desk you choose. For example, make sure you take regular breaks throughout the day, step away from your desk, stretch, and move your body. Be mindful of your posture, pull back the shoulders and keep your back straight.
Prevention is better than cure
Given the severity of some of the health issues that can arise from an inadequate workstation, it is essential that a full workstation assessment is carried out for each employee. The Occupational Healthcare experts at YourGP offer this service as part of our customisable packages which can be tailored to suit your individual business needs.
If you would like to discuss further ways you can support your employees in their switch to home working and provide a healthier work life for all, get in touch with YourGP’s team of Occupational Health specialists on 0131 225 5656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your appointment.
I needed a quick appointment as I was leaving for America. The doctor listened and allayed any concerns. It was a pleasure to talk to a doctor who wasn’t watching the clock and not paying attention to me. I left confident that if a problem arose I would be able to deal with it until I arrived home. The experience left me feeling confident and positive.