Many people dreamt about it for years — the ability to work from home. During the initial days of Covid-19, when work-from-home policies were announced, people were relieved that they no longer had to spend time commuting to the workplace, get involved in useless office politics, or spend additional time with colleagues even after office hours. Similarly, even employers were relieved as they no longer had to manage a workplace or spend on its maintenance.
While work from home was everyone’s (almost) dream come true, there were inevitable trade-offs as well. Firstly, the work-life balance went for a toss as there was no clear distinction between work and non-work hours. Secondly, many individuals started experiencing health issues while working without professional equipment and environment.
Here are seven common health risks of working from home:
Musculoskeletal pain refers to the pain one experiences in their muscles, bones, and ligaments, etc. It is caused due to sitting for long hours, sitting in an imbalanced or asymmetric position, or not having the proper desk setup, including a chair with poor support. It has significantly increased since the shift to remote work.
Musculoskeletal pain can cause severe damage and might require the services of chiropractors to treat your muscular pain. They will perform chiropractic adjustment or suggest exercises to help reduce the pain, depending upon the severity of the condition.
Mental Health Issues
Various mental health issues like anxiety, depression, paranoia, etc., have increased among the working class. The primary reason being homes weren’t designed to be offices. The home environment proved non-conducive as there is no clear distinction between home and office space and personal and professional time.
Many individuals experienced a loss of productivity and felt lethargic due to stress. Additionally, social isolation and lockdowns further contributed to mental health issues. If you are suffering from mental health issues or know someone undergoing the same, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Long work hours, staring at screens throughout the day, and erratic schedules have disturbed the sleep cycle of many individuals and induced insomnia in many. Insomnia, in itself, is harmful. It can also lead to other complications like depression, cardiac issues, and others. Taking periodic breaks during work hours and avoiding screens after work hours can help treat insomnia.
Digital devices emit blue light frequencies. Constant exposure to this light can strain the eye, lead to blurry vision, and cause headaches. And exposure to screens has increased during the work-from-home scenario. Meetings, conferences, and seminars, too, are happening through these screens, leading to few visual breaks.
Blue-light-blocking glasses need to be worn when sitting in front of the computer to avoid eye strain and fatigue. Additionally, adjusting the computer screen angle, too, can help reduce the eye issues caused.
Working from home led to many people binge eating or choosing unhealthy food options, especially those living alone and can’t cook for themselves. This led such people to gain unwanted weight. This can, in turn, lead to complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, among others. To avoid weight gain, ensure to have a healthy diet. Eat vegetables, fruits, avoid harmful food, and include healthier food alternatives in meals.
As mentioned earlier, a clear distinction between professional and personal life became extinct due to the work-from-home culture. People, in fact, ended up working more hours than they did at the workspace. They didn’t have time to relax and recharge during and after work hours. This, ultimately, led to people becoming more stressed and experiencing burnouts more often. One way to avoid burnout is to set a strict schedule for logging in to work, taking small breaks during work hours, and logging out of work.
Online video, audio calls, and webinars replaced traditional meetings and seminars in the work-from-home setup. This led to an increase in the use of headphones and other hearing devices to clearly listen to what the person at the other end is talking about. However, it is necessary to ensure that the volume is kept at an optimal and safe level. Constantly having loud sounds directed to the eardrum can damage it and lead to temporary noise-induced hearing loss. The hearing loss can also be permanent if the ear is damaged beyond repair.
These are just seven health issues caused by work from home, just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to these, people have faced other severe problems such as anxiety, stress in personal relationships, carpal tunnel syndrome, among others. As we slowly return to normalcy, we hope that offices reopen soon and that the health issues caused by work from home disappear quickly.