Millions of home workers are risking long-term health issues because of the way they are working, according to a new study.
B2B furniture provider Furniture At Work is calling on employers to provide greater support to ensure their teams are working in a healthy way while at home. It found that only 46% of home workers are sitting at a purpose-built desk, risking back problems. Of the 2,000 home workers who were based in an office pre-pandemic, the survey found that 55% of men worked at a desk compared to 41% of women, while nearly a fifth of 16-24 year olds said they regularly worked from their bed.
Eating habits are also causing an increased risk, with just 26% saying they had managed to improve their diet while working from home and more than a third saying they had eaten more unhealthy food.
When it comes to physical activity, 63% said they are doing the same or more amount of physical activity or exercise when working from home. And despite that encouraging figure, it still leaves 37% who have become less active. Four in ten said they wished they had exercised more over the course of the pandemic, with 31% saying they wish they had devised and stuck to a fitness regime. A third also had regrets about their diet.
A spokesperson for Furniture At Work, said: “Many of us [felt] unprepared to turn our homes into an office. Unfortunately this means that over half of the usually office-based population have been left working from kitchen tables, sofas and even their beds, leading to serious concerns about how this could affect the physical health of workers.
“Add this to the fact that only 22% of workers are managing over 30 minutes exercise a day and we can see that the health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic could be much further reaching than first thought.
“It is up to employers to support their teams and ensure their workspace is suitable and safe.”
Furniture At Work has produced a helpful guide to support employers and employees make home-working safer and healthier. You can find that guide here.