As working from home becomes the new normal, it is safe to say that 2020 had an impactful year on our body in many different ways. Not only have our habits changed due to the virus and its spread, constantly washing hands and wearing masks. We now have other habits we have picked up which include more sitting and slouching on sofas and our beds, especially as we sit and wait out another lockdown.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a large portion of the UK work force have been working from home. As indicated form the graph below, 76% of people have been working from home entirely with only 12% of workers not impacted by the pandemic.
Although this is much needed to help stop the spread of the virus and to lower the number of cases. It does have an overall effect on our bodies.
Working at Home Wellbeing Survey
The Institute of Employment Studies carried out a Working at Home Wellbeing Survey in 2020, conducted in the fist lockdown to produce an insight into the analysis of the physical and mental wellbeing of the new army of UK homeworks. The data from the survey found that there have been significant increases in complaints of musculoskeletal as more than half of participants reported new aches and pains. These new pains were concentrated in the neck at 58%, back 55% and shoulders 56%, in comparison to their normal physical conditions.
The study also found a increase in poor sleep over the lockdown which was a direct result of worry for 64% participants, fatigue in 60% participants and a colossal 48% believed their lack in sleep was due to their working patterns which included irregular house to their normal working days which were extended far beyond the hours of their normal working days in comparison to being at work.
The way our bodies feel also largely depends on how our minds sare feeling. The survey also looked into the mental health of reposnandst and found 50% of participants have reported a shift in their mental state of mind and feel unhappy with their current working situation. With this also comes a natural mental feeling of isolation with 33% and 21% worries about job security. The nature of the virus has also made many extend their worry beyond their own health as the survey found 41% of people harbour health concerns for family members.
How to help your body
There are a number of exercises, activities and devices that can help relieve our bodies of WFH stresses and here’s a look at a few.
Posture – Upright Go
Upright Go is a small device which helps to measure the posture of your back and spine. It has a small adhesive sticky back which is safe to use and allows the device to stick straight to the skin. Alternatively, users can use a neck slip which allows the user to wear the device around the neck.
Once on, the device registers teh users spine alignment and is either able to alert tus euser of when they are hunching or not sitting upright by giving off a small buzz or its ai ale to collect data from your behaviour throughout day and offer data vis their app on your smartphone indicating how much of the day in percentage your posture was correct and incorrect.
Calm is an app that can be used on your smart devices to help you get a good night sleep. It is designed for all labels from beginners, intermediate and advanced users. One of the ebay features of this application is its sleep stories, the stories are specifically designed to help users fall asleep as they listen to audio stories read out by some big names celebrities such as Mather McConaughey and Stepehtm Fry.
Mental Health – Headspace
Headspace is a meditation app which helps to teach users how to meditate every day mindfully. The app is created with skills from word class experts with daily activities to help you clear your mind and increase better mental health.The sessions are guided sessions and their courses help to relieve stress and anxiety and improve work and productivity as well as creativity and physical health mindfulness.
The flip side of working from home
Contrary to the negative effects of working from home, some have preferred working from home for a range of different reasons.
(Source- The World Economic Forum)
The level of flexibility working from home has given to the UK workforce has meant that individuals feel that they are able to do more things in their day. Working from home has also allowed many parents to spend more time with their children as well as use their commuting time more freely, giving them the opportunity to do more in their day.