The real impact of working from home
While the nation continues to adjust to working from home, a new poll has revealed the impact on our physical and mental wellbeing.
Research by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has found that there are key health and wellbeing disparities between different groups of people who made the move to home working as a result of Covid-19.
It was found that overall, more people felt working from home was better for their health and wellbeing (45 per cent), compared to around one third (29 per cent) who thought working from home was worse for their health and wellbeing. However, people who switched to working from home as a result of Covid-19 had experienced health and wellbeing impacts, with the most common being feeling less connected to colleagues (67 per cent), taking less exercise (46 per cent), developing musculoskeletal problems (39 per cent) and disturbed sleep (37 p er cent)
It was found that one in four (26 per cent) are working from home from either a sofa or a bedroom and nearly half (48 per cent) of those who work from a sofa or bedroom said they had developed musculoskeletal problems and nearly two thirds (59 per cent) said they felt more isolated from their colleagues
Home working is having an impact on people’s mental health, with 56 per cent saying they found it harder to switch off. However only a third of respondents had been offered support with their mental health (34 per cent) from their employer.
To tackle the health and wellbeing issues people are experiencing as a result of working from home, RSPH is calling for employers to ensure that all employees have access to mental health support to help them to cope with increased isolation and anxiety and have access to equipment and a remote assessment to support them with their physical health
Christina Marriott, Chief Executive of RSPH, explained “Our findings reveal that although working from home can be beneficial for people’s health and wellbeing, there are stark differences in how different groups have been affected. For people who have multiple housemates or are working from their bedroom or a sofa, the impact on their mental and physical health is extremely concerning and something we believe that employers need to address.”
Lisa Artis, Deputy CEO of The Sleep Charity, added: “It comes as no surprise to hear that home working has affected some people’s sleep. It can often be a struggle to keep boundaries in place and stick to a regular routine, which has a knock-on effect on sleep.
“It’s important that when people are working from home that, where possible, they do try to avoid working from the sofa or bedroom. This is because these two areas are often used for relaxing and it’s being mindful that you don’t associate these areas with feeling of being stressed. Plus, while they may seem appealing, they are usually not good for your posture or productivity.
“Ideally workplaces need to make provisions for people to work from home and encourage employees to not work out of hours so that they have the opportunity to wind down before bedtime. We have a host of resources on our website for workplaces to access but also if anyone is struggling with their sleep.”