When the New Normal Brings New Hazards: The Hidden Health Risks of a Growing Remote Workforce
By Space Coast Daily // December 27, 2021
Working from home keeps people safe from catching viruses at the workplace, but the growing remote workforce may be surprised to find new hazards lurking under their noses. These health risks tend to come from the lack of movement and having furniture not designed for long-term work. Here’s an inside look at the hidden hazards of working from home.
Prolonged exposure to home allergens
Surprisingly, people at home can have excessive exposure to allergens. Allergy hotspots include dust collectors like upholstered furniture, drapes and curtains, carpets, bedding, and moist areas like bathrooms and basements. Another common allergen source is the traditional box spring mattress, which releases dust into the air whenever someone lays on it.
Rather than suffering nightly from dust mites collecting in your traditional mattress, you can turn to allergen-friendly products like an Essentia organic mattress. This type of bedding is made from all-natural source materials that limit irritation to the lungs and eyes, making for a relaxing day (and night) spent at home.
Staring at a screen for hours on end
Eye strain is a common complaint for remote workers who spend hours staring at a computer screen. When workers constantly look at their computer screens for meetings and other activities, their eye muscles do not relax. Eventually, eye muscles grow tired, and some people also develop slight headaches.
Remote workers should set their computers approximately twenty degrees below their horizontal eye level to resolve this problem. Many remote workers also find that wearing eyeglasses that filter blue light reduces eye strain, too.
Back, hip, and shoulder pain from sitting all-day
Remote workers don’t have the same time of workplace seating that offers ergonomic relief. Instead, these employees do work from sofas and dining room chairs. The result of sitting for hours in a chair meant for relaxation is musculoskeletal pain in the shoulders, lower back, and hips.
For relief, remote workers should invest in a high-quality chair designed for daily computer work. Remote workers can also arrange their at-home workspace with their computer monitor about an arm’s length away. It is also helpful to sit in a chair that allows you to sit with your knees and hips at a 90-degree angle. Avoid doing work on the couch and in your bed.
To avoid musculoskeletal pain, do not sit for more than one hour. Get up at least once per hour, walk around, and try working from a standing position when possible.
If you cannot get rid of your pain, it is vital to see a health care provider who can prescribe physical therapy or another helpful treatment.
Mental health problems
When remote workers rarely leave their homes, they often have mental health problems from loneliness and stress. Remote workers often struggle with finding balance at home, as there is no delineation between where they work and where they live.
These remote employees may suffer from stress eating, burnout, insomnia, and relationship problems—to name a few of the results from working at home. It is best to seek professional help to work through mental health problems.
Working from home is here to stay, so remote workers need to arrange their home offices to accommodate their new lifestyle.