Working from home (WFH) has become the new normal as employers join the forces to help the government fight the spread of Covid-19 virus. In the future, a remote option might become increasingly encouraged even after the pandemic has gone. But is working from home really effective for you, as an employee?
WFH allows you to work from home, anytime at your convenience. You don’t have to worry about your boss lurking over your shoulder or noisy coworkers distracting you from finishing that report. And yet, the downsides of working from home are the stress coming from inability to disconnect from work and lack the tools needed to do your job with ease.
ILO report titled “Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work” found that remote work is popular because of its better work-life balance, no long commute and office rules. All of these could relieve stress and improve production.
On the side note, however, ILO revealed that the flexibility offered in remote work options comes at a cost to employee’s personal life. When your office is mobile, so is your boss – meaning your boss can reach you from your pocket where the phone resides. This invites a highly always-on culture, resulting in longer working hours for employees. Remote workers who work from home told ILO that they have insomnia. 42 percent of the respondents cited that they woke up repeatedly during the night, compared to only 29 percent of office-bound employees who reported the same.
Not only will working from home create more stressful and demanding work hours, the report noted that nearly half of remote workers did not have an office chair or a work desk at home. Owing to this condition, no wonder that one-third of respondents had experienced back pain. While you can always work while laying down and none will complain, it turns out that working from your bed or kitchen desk can be bad for your physical health and posture.
Another Homeworker Wellbeing Survey found that the insufficient supply of a working desk or chair could lead to aches and pains from poor posture. Especially those who work with their laptop or computer, as they spend too much time laying on the couch or bed while typing. This can lead to severe neck, shoulder, and back pains, if done regularly it could worsen the normal posture of your body.
Dr Rahul Shah, an orthopaedic surgeon, said that there is no doubt working without a proper desk, chair, and adjustment to work laptop could give negative results to our body. To avoid the bad posture, we should adjust our neck to look straight ahead or look down about 10 degrees. For the low back, it is important to sit in the right position on a chair. Taking breaks every 20 – 30 minutes and doing workout are also helpful.
We can do a light workout, such as sit up, push up, plank or pull up within the house to stay loose when things get tight, added Dr Shah. Spending less time sitting and switching to a standing working position will be helpful as well.