Here’s a problem to which many Scot-Buzz readers can relate – the danger to health from increasing demands of computer work at home.
It’s a problem faced not only by thousands of private sector home workers but also many in government and the public sector who take work home to read – more comfortable (for a time) than the office – but one that piles up problems.
Around two thirds of office workers say they take work home ‘at least twice per week’. And the majority had no home office space.
Retailer Furniture123.Co.uk has not been slow to spot a marketing opportunity and a chance to plug its products. But its advice will resonate with many.
It says more than three in four (78 per cent) work from the sofa, risking repetitive strain injury, back problems and neck strain.
Living rooms are most commonly used for work, followed by dining rooms, bedrooms and kitchens. Home offices came in fifth – most likely due to the small proportion of people who have them.
Employees in professional services are most likely to take work home, closely followed by those in the education, information and communications, financial services and administrative / support industries.
Says Mark Kelly, marketing manager at Furniture123.co.uk, “With workaholic and presenteeism culture on the rise, it is not surprising that many office workers are taking work home with them. And it’s no surprise most are settling down on the sofa to get it done, as accommodation with a number of spare rooms gets more expensive.
“But this is really bad for your posture and physical mobility in the long term, and yet while many people are willing to invest extra hours into their work, they are not willing to invest in the equipment which will protect them from the damage this can eventually cause”.
Be choosy: The room you choose to work in can effect comfort, concentration, productivity and stress levels. Always aim for an area in the house where you are unlikely to be disturbed and clutter is kept to a minimum.
Keep it light: Where possible, ensure you have a good balance of both natural light from windows and quality artificial lighting in your workspace, to prevent strain to the eyes. You don’t necessarily have to opt for a dedicated desk lamp – just a good quality floor light or lamp placed near the workspace will do the trick.
Out of sight, out of mind: Make use of drawers, a chest or curtained shelving to keep work-related paperwork, folders and gadgets neatly tidied away and out of sight, so that your home space will resemble just that when your working day ends, allowing you to relax without dwelling on it.
Accessorise: There are lots of small items you can invest in to increase comfort and lessen the strain on body and mind. Wrist rests and ergonomic mouse pads will support hands and wrists, while a document holder or an adjustable stand placed under the computer monitor will mean your neck is not put under pressure from extended periods of looking at a screen which is placed at the wrong height.
Sit right: A chair really is the one thing it is hard to substitute. The power of an adjustable office chair with the appropriate support for your lumber cannot be under-estimated. When properly adjusted, it will encourage you to sit up straight, support your back and enable you to sit at the correct height to prevent strain to the hands, wrists and arms developing.
ScotBuzz co-editor Bill agrees. He bought a comfy office chair earlier this year to enable him to read and work at the dining table. A great attraction to get him started first thing in the morning – and best of all – pre-sprayed to keep the cat from hogging it.