We’re over a year in to working from home, and for many this temporary arrangement has become a permanent solution. And whilst there have been many benefits, including a better work life balance, feeling less stressed following the daily commute, and even saving money by missing out on the daily Starbucks habit, there are some side-effects that are having a negative impact on our mental and physical wellbeing.
The Work Smarter to Live better study has found that whilst companies have adapted their business to hybrid working, there are still a number of challenges that employees are facing.
While there are many benefits to working from home, there are some side-effects that may impact our mental and physical wellbeing.
The ONS revealed that 7.4 million people have reported feelings of loneliness as a result of lockdown and working from home. While video calls are still providing a valuable link for many, they could be creating more stress, with 19% of those surveyed saying they feel pressured into looking good on video meetings.
Keeping the camera switched off for some meetings can help take the pressure off and may help you focus more on what’s being said, rather than focusing on how you look.
And it’s not just video calls that are causing anxiety. We’re finding that we feel guilty when we step away from the computer. So, it’s important that when you do take a break you let your colleagues know. By managing these expectations and setting these boundaries, you can give yourself peace of mind and enjoy that time away from your desk instead of worrying that colleagues are trying to get in touch.
Emotional Wellbeing Prevention and Enhancement Lead at Nuffield Health, Gosia Bowling, commented:
“Those who regularly work from home have established routines and boundaries that help them compartmentalise their personal and professional lives. These things take time to get right and will be different for each individual, but without them, the continuous pressure of work can negatively impact our mental health, which in turn can impact not only our relationships but our physical health.”
The continuous pressures of working from home can negatively impact our mental health, our relationships as well as our physical health.
To help ensure you’re looking after your mental wellbeing, it’s important that you take regular breaks and separate your work life from your home life.
If you’re lucky enough to have a separate office, closing the door to the room where you’ve been working is a great place to start.
Of course, we know that not everyone has a separate workspace, with National Accident Helpline finding 36% of home workers working from their living room. If you do find you’re living and working in the same rooms, at the end of the day clear the workspace and if possible, put away your laptop and paperwork. If not, the very least you can do is shut down your computer and switch off your work phone.
It’s not just our mental wellbeing that has taken a knock with working from home. Our physical health is being impacted too. National Accident Helpline have found that 83% of respondents to their survey have injured themselves whilst working from home.
Because many at-home-work setups aren’t to the standard of an office, people are straining their necks looking down at screens instead of having them at the right height. And given that 25% of workers are sitting and working from their sofa, this awkward position could have a serious long-term impact on posture.
If you’re finding your posture is suffering as a result of working from home, speak to your company to see if you can borrow office equipment, such as an ergonomic adjustable chair that provides lumbar support.
From posture-related issues to eye problems, a significant number of workers have injured themselves while working from home.
A few years ago, office workers spent 1,700 hours a year in front of a computer screen, and now that the majority of meetings are carried out on-screen too, this figure will be expected to rise. These additional screen hours are putting an extra burden on the muscles that help the eye focus and can cause problems with eye-sight later in life. Also, because the eyes don’t blink as frequently when looking at digital devices, it can cause the eyes to feel irritated and tired.
To help combat this, it’s important to take frequent breaks using the 20/20/20 rule: for every 20 minutes of usage, look away for 20 seconds, and focus on something 20 feet away.
And most importantly, if you’re struggling working from home, whether it be physically or mentally, it’s important to know that help is available, and there is always someone you can talk to.
Have you worked from home?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
“PIN & SHARE”