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Fellowes explore the detrimental impact of home working on the nation’s mental and physical health


NEW research from Fellowes Brands reveals the alarming impact home working is having on the mental wellbeing and physical health of the nation.

Over a third (35%) of UK workers admit feeling stressed or anxious, lonely and isolated (32%) and tired or lacking in energy (38%), while working from home during lockdown.

Inadequate home workstations are putting people’s physical health at risk as less than half (49%) have a proper set-up.

Current legislation around home working is outdated and lacks clarity – it is only a legal requirement for employers to provide workstation risk assessments if employees are ‘permanent’ home workers.

As home working has increased due to the pandemic, research calls for employers to do more as 10% of people admitted to working from their sofa, 5% from their bed and 3% even worked on the floor! It is no surprise, then, that nearly half (49%) have experienced more physical strain working from home, with over a quarter suffering strained eyes (27%), stiff neck (27%), a sore or aching back (26%), and headaches (25%).

Top requirements for equipment include better back support from their chair (29%), a new chair (27%) and less time spent sitting down (25%). Employees are also resorting to spending their own money on home working equipment (65%), spending on average, £1,300 – suggesting employees are unhappy with the support they are receiving.

The global pandemic has forced employers and workers to adapt to a ‘new normal’ and embrace a new way of working at home and in the office. But what are employers doing to support their workforce and safeguard their health? And how can we all take steps to create a healthy and happy working environment that supports the flexible home / office workplace of the future?

Employers are failing in their duty of care for home workers

Research reveals that almost 1 in 5 (19%) think their employer does not care about their mental health or wellbeing – putting productivity, results and making money above their welfare. 45% of employees have never completed a workstation risk assessment – potentially putting physical and mental health at risk. 58% don’t know or don’t fully understand what their rights are when it comes to having a safe and healthy home working environment and 59% believe home working should be regulated by the government.

The Experts Opions..

“Employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers. The coronavirus pandemic has meant more people working from home. This means an increase in flexible working between office and home, so employers, need to take responsibility, and work collaboratively to review and adapt working practices for employees. Current regulations are outdated and do not necessarily reflect modern working practices. If there is a permanent shift to hybrid/flexible working – legislation and guidance should be updated to remain relevant, protecting the health, safety and welfare of employees.” Kizzy Augustin, Health & Safety Partner at Russell Cooke Solicitors

Ergonomist and physiotherapy expert, Emma Crumpton, says: Many people have made changes to their usual working practices and have set up workstations at home as a response to the Pandemic. These measures, whilst hopefully temporary, are likely to be a feature of working life for the foreseeable future. It is vital for our health, wellbeing, productivity and job satisfaction that adequate assessment, equipment provision and adjustments to work practices/workstations are made to reflect these changes and reduce associated risks. Visit the Fellowes Brands website for top tips to help you stay healthy while working at home or the office: www.fellowes.com/futureworking

Fellowes Solutions to the problem..

Complete your own home workstation risk assessment here https://www.fellowesergotest.com/ and share with your HR team or appropriate member of staff or line manager.

Ergonomic Products and how they contribute to a healthy workspace

Fellowes Brands are a healthy workspace solution provider focusing on developing products and services to inspire healthy working for today and future generations. The company’s thoughtfully designed ergonomic furniture, accessories and services help to increase productivity and reduce absenteeism, thus supporting employees to be at their best in the workplace, whether working in the corporate office or from home.

Fellowes Brands ensures that workers can benefit from an ergonomic workstation arrangement which meets their personal requirements. This includes laptop risers, monitor risers and arms – to ensure that screens are positioned at the right height to avoid neck strain, foot and back supports to support posture, wrist supports for comfortable mousing and typing as well as height-adjustable desks and sit-stand desk converters to encourage more movement during your working day.

Fellowes 4 Zone Ergonomic Approach

For more information on Fellowes Ergonomics and their 4 Zone Approach to Ergonomic products, head over to our article on The Ergonomic Revolution in the Workplace.