As the world continues to try to return to the office, employees are getting very used to sharing their daily job between home and company premises – but is their health starting to suffer?
Studies have shown that many people working from home are still not set up in a professional manner – and many perching on the bed or squeezing onto the kitchen table are reporting aches and strains.
For some people, the return to the office doesn’t help as it should. With social distancing requirements, it can be difficult to find a suitable desk that’s cleaned and available – and that is cranking up stress levels and affecting wellness.
So what can you do to make your workplace healthier – whether it’s at home or in the office? We’ve got 5 great tips.
1. Correct your posture while you are working: Laptops in particular cause problems, as people often bend their necks to look down at the screen – also an issue when taking part in Zoom or Teams video conference sessions.
This can cause problems from neck and back pain to headaches. Make sure you place your laptop on a surface where your head can be held straight and your eyes look directly at the screen.
You should be sitting up straight with your feet flat on the floor and your thighs at 90 degrees, which makes it easy to keep your back straight.
2. Light up your working day: Natural light is good for your health, so try to sit near a window if you can. In Winter, light bulbs that mimic daylight can help you avoid SAD – the seasonally affective disorder that makes you feel listless and tired.
In addition, try to make time to get outside for at least half an hour a day.
3. Avoid clutter: This is easy if you return to the office and find you are now hot-desking – that way, you clear your desk every day.
This is something you should try to do even when you are working from home, or have a fixed desk. Searching for lost items in piles of paperwork takes time and drives up your frustration levels, and it can make you feel out of control of your working day.
4. Invest in suitable furniture: When the lockdown sent us all to our spare bedrooms to work, we made do with rickety tables and wrong-height chairs.
But let’s face it – agile working is here to stay, with many people vowing to work from home two or three days a week even once the corona crisis is behind us.
Employers are taking this trend on board, because they see it as a great way to reduce costs and improve worker wellness. They’ve also discovered that productivity does not drop off if people are working at home.
Some companies are giving staff money to buy good home office furniture – for example, Lloyds have offered tens of thousands of staff an adjustable chair.
Of course, most firms already invest in ergonomically-correct furniture in their own buildings. But if you’re still balancing on a dodgy stool to do your work, it’s time to ask, or even invest for your own wellbeing.
5. Book your office workspace in advance: If you do make the effort to return to the office, you want it to be as effortless as possible.
If you’re lucky, your company already invests in desk booking software, which allows you to find and book the perfect workspace via an app on your phone.
It means you’re not going to have a stressful scramble to grab a desk when you arrive, and it also makes sense from the company’s point of view – you can get on with your work as soon as you arrive.
Discover how to make desk sharing implementation a reality.
The world has come to terms with working in different ways, and it’s finally become accepted that homeworking is a valid and productive way for employees to operate.
Many do miss the camaraderie of a return to the office, though, and there’s no substitute for the collaboration and innovation that can be sparked by actually meeting.
So a hybrid of home and office working is likely to become the norm as we move into #workplace 2021 and beyond, and digital technology such as desk booking software will become more and more a part of the working day.
It means that working conditions in your company office and your home office should be similar, and should protect your health in the same way.
And with wellness high on the corporate agenda these days, it’s something most employers will be taking very seriously indeed.
Discover more about supporting agile workers with technology