Health Experts Sound Alarm on Work from Home Bad Habits

By  //  June 5, 2021

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With WFH becoming a household acronym, health experts are sounding the alarm on an increasingly pervasive problem – poor working habits.

Out of all the states, Florida ranks second in the total number of remote workers. As such, Floridians should pay extra attention to the potential pitfalls of working from home.

#WorkFromBed

Tuck worked with 1,000 Americans to see how the WFH trend has affected sleep. At 72%, a staggering number of remote workers are working from their beds. This is a 50% increase compared to the pre-pandemic numbers.

In fact, a quick look at the hashtag #WorkFromBed will show thousands of people happily working in bed, dressed in their pajamas. However, poor sleep hygiene leads to inadequate quality sleep.

Before the pandemic, about 50% of survey respondents had a healthy amount of sleep. This dropped to just 37.5% after the outbreak.

Researchers from University of California, Berkeley said that undersleeping can lead to excessive worrying and stress. Even depression is linked to insomnia.

In the same report, Tuck found that the younger generations are especially prone to falling into this bad habit. Workers aged 18 to 34 are twice more likely to work from bed.than their older counterparts.

Unsupported and Awkward Positioning

Despite the perils of working from bed, a lot of remote workers simply can’t afford or don’t have adequate space to have a dedicated workspace. Their options are limited to their bed, kitchen table, or couch.

However, as Mayo Clinic’s Susan Hallbeck put it, “None of it is optimal.” With these options, remote workers aren’t being supported in a way that’s conducive to work.

She explained that it can begin with minor headaches before gradually developing into permanent back stiffness, arthritis, and cervical pain.

In a Facebook survey by the American Chiropractic Association, 92% of the 213 chiropractors reported an increase in patients with neck pain, back pain or other musculoskeletal issues. This was just a month after the almost overnight shift to remote work.

The good news is that remote workers are aware that change needs to be done. According to Kristine Cottone of OSF Rehabilitation, more people are asking for general guidance. This includes recommendations for chairs, computer mouse, or other work accessories that are less likely to cause injury.

According to ergonomist George Chiang at Ergonomic Trends, picking a proper designated spot at home to work, and making sure your laptop setup is ergonomic are two of the most important things to check off the list for anyone working from home.

Sedentary Lifestyle

For those that have good home office ergonomics, another challenge is staying active.

Employees in a standard work setup have to commute, walk to the train station, go down to the canteen for lunch, and hurry between different office rooms to accomplish certain tasks.

In a work-from-home setup, remote workers are choosing to stay sedentary. Instead of getting physical activity, 37% of the 2,000 US remote workers in a Plugable survey browse the internet or peruse social media, 34% shop online, and 33% binge-watch Netflix shows.

In a New York Times interview, Oregon-based chiropractor Heidi Henson said that the human body needs movement. Even with perfect ergonomics, it won’t respond well if you stay in one position for too long.

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