Many people initially welcomed working from home when 2020 forced businesses to change their approach. What many thought would just be a short-term solution, ended up lasting over a year.
Employees who had enough space at home were able to create a separate home office with few distractions, a desk, and an office chair. However, a large number of people were limited to working at kitchen tables, in noisy environments, or on uncomfortable furniture. Businesses and employees haven’t yet been able to ensure safety when working in a home office.
A recent National Accident Helpline study examined injuries that occurred whilst working from home and determined which areas and rooms are the riskiest to work in.
When evaluating the results, the survey found that 18% of participants are working in their bedroom, while 14% work in the dining room. Many people also use the kitchen to work (10%) and 4% do their work from the hallway.
Working in the hallway is the most Dangerous :
Even though the layout of each home can be quite different, the study concluded that the hallway is one area of the house that should be avoided.
Almost 90% of participants who worked in their hallway said that they had experienced an injury. Especially back injuries proved to be a common occurrence. Close to 50% said that they injured their backs in the hallway. This makes the hallway the most dangerous area of the home.
67% of People who have to work in the bathroom also sustained injuries.
Suffering from Back Pain :
Back pain in general is the problem that is most likely to occur when working from home. According to the National Accident Helpline, 1 in 4 people (27%) reported experiencing pain in their backs. A significant amount of people also experienced neck pain (17%).
Luckily, in most cases, both can often be avoided by purchasing the right office furniture and maintaining the correct posture. Investing in a quality office chair and a desk that is not too low or too high can be extremely helpful. A good rule of thumb is to set up your chair and desk so that your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle. The same goes for your knees. Your feet should rest comfortably on the floor. Try to keep your back straight and your shoulders from slumping forwards.
Eye Strain and how to avoid it :
Also, consider the strain on your eyes than looking at a screen for several hours can cause. Of the participants in the study, 18% reported experiencing eye strain. If you work long hours, try to regularly take your eyes away from the screen. If you can’t take a break, you could look at a spot in the distance for at least a few seconds. Here are some other useful remedies suggested by the American Mayo Clinic.
Other types of Injuries :
Typing often and for longer periods of time can put you at risk of suffering from hand injuries. Repetitive strain injuries, in general, were reported by 10% of people who took part in the survey. These can be “caused by using items like a laptop or a mouse without following health and safety set up guidance”, the NAH explains.
What other things can you do to Avoid Injuries?
Speak to HR to get suitable equipment for your home office. If you are experiencing certain pains, ask the department for advice or consult a doctor. Avoid working in specific rooms, such as the hallway or the bathroom, if possible. If you need to work in the kitchen or living room, try to set up an area where you experience as few distractions as possible. Remind yourself to improve your posture and pay close attention to your health and overall wellbeing.