A pain in the neck: homeworking is turning us into LOSERS

Are you among the millions of “homeworking LOSERS” created during the covid-19 pandemic?

12% of those surveyed say that they have been working from their sofa at home

According to research conducted on behalf of technology company, EIZO, the coronavirus lockdown is turning millions of workers into “Laptops On Sofas and Employment Rights Shelved” (geddit?), with their physical and mental health put at risk through inadequate employer support.

The research suggests that many employees, forced to work from home, are feeling the negative effects of a domestic environment often ill-equipped for the working day.

According to the research, 39 per cent are functioning without any additional, employer-provided equipment such as a laptop, mouse, keyboard, monitor or desk chair. Of those polled, 37 per cent say that they are using a company-supplied laptop.

A lack of appropriate equipment – in particular the low provision of desk chairs (17 per cent of total) – can lead to physical effects on homeworking staff, such as back and neck pain, and RSI – repetitive strain injury through poor posture and inadequate keyboards or computer mouse availability.

Only one-third of people have a dedicated home office space; even 12 per cent claim to be working from a sofa with a laptop on their knees.

“As many of us are facing new lockdown restrictions, more people working from home is inevitable,” said Colin Woodley, CEO at EIZO.

Predicting that many companies may look to slash costs in the future by reducing their office use and allowing more homeworking, Woodley said, “Even when restrictions start to ease, we understand many organisations may offer a more flexible way of working in the future.

“But employers need to understand that their duty of care to employees extends to their homeworking technology and furniture requirements.”

According to Health and Safety Executive guidance on long-term homeworking and display screen equipment, employers should ensure “full workstation assessments” and “provide workers with appropriate equipment and advice on control measures”.

According to the research, employees are already suffering the ill-effects of homeworking issues: back strain (close to 1-in-3) and neck strain (1-in-5) feature among the top five working from home issues. More than 1-in-4 of respondents report that they are working longer hours when at home.

“We know homeworkers want their employers to take action on these issues: almost a third (32 per cent) who responded to our research would like them to provide more equipment, better equipment (25 per cent) and discuss needs with employees on an individual basis (28 per cent),” Woodley said.

“At a minimum, this should include a desk and chair for posture, neck and back health plus a monitor for eye and neck health, space-saving keyboards and computers with adequate audio-visual equipment to support the increasing number of online meetings.”

For more information and the full research overview, visit www.whereareyouworking.co.uk

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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