Working from home gets a bad rep from a lot of people; mostly because the image of someone in sweatpants watching TV on the couch at home instead of working is what usually comes up. But this 2-year study by Stanford shows that working from home can actually boost productivity significantly.
With more people preferring remote work over traditional employment, people should keep in mind that there are still some things that remote workers will have to deal with, like the subtle hazards of the home office.
Here are four common occupational hazards that come with remote work, and what you can do about them.
For most office workers, they have their fellow colleagues to interact with. However, for remote workers operating out of their home offices they normally work alone. This has actually been shown in the 2-year Stanford study mentioned above to affect mental health; in the study, the people working from their homes (despite the big productivity boost) preferred working in the office because of the isolation. Working in this isolation for an extended period can even lead to mild depression.
Some of our very own SupaAgents actually deal with this by having video calls or work gatherings with other SupaAgents. Connecting with the work community can be a very effective way to overcome this issue.
This is an issue that occurs frequently in sedentary lifestyles. Though they can be for the most part harmless, it can lead to more serious conditions, particularly venous skin ulcers. Without a commute, you could end up sitting at home for long periods of time. The physical inactivity can affect the blood flow in the legs, causing the valves in the veins to weaken and potentially leading to blood clots.
What you can do to prevent this is to avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods. Losing weight, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking will also help in preventing varicose veins. Click here for a list of additional things that you can do to avoid this.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem for office workers, but just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’re not at risk. In fact, you may be even more at risk due to longer hours spent on the computer as mentioned in Stanford study above. Spending hours on end on the keyboard typing with your wrists bent at a sharp angle is usually how one ends up with carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of the symptoms include numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hand.
To combat this, you should take a 10-15 minute break every hour and stretch your hands. Additionally, we’ve included a list of prevention tips here.
People working from home are affected by eye strain just as office workers are; like with office workers, the risk is often downplayed. Dry and tired eyes are a typical symptom of eye strain, along with blurry vision. Prolonged eye strain can also accelerate the eye lenses deterioration as the lenses get less flexible. Sometimes, presbyopia, which is a condition that usually afflicts people around the age of 40, may set in.
The most significant thing that can be done to stave off these issues is taking time off the screen. This doesn’t necessarily mean stopping work completely, but periodic breaks like the 20-20-20 rule will help a lot. Here is a list of other things that can be done to help with this problem.
In the safety of our homes, we tend to take things for granted more than usual. But keeping these hazards in mind and taking the necessary steps to combat them will ensure your welfare while working in your home office.