The Impact of Remote Work on Mental and Physical Wellness
By Guest Blogger
May 17, 2022
Whether you're eager to return to the office or not, studies have shown that remote work can have negative long-term consequences. Here we share 5 ways employers can help employees reduce the risk.
Companies with conventional office spaces were required to send their employees home to work remotely—and many of these employees will continue working from home long after the pandemic has passed so it's important to understand what you, as an employer, can do to help.
Understanding the Impact
Since the beginning of lockdowns, there have been numerous studies on the physical and mental effects of remote work, but here are a few key findings from a study conducted by Oracle. In over 11 countries, it shows that 78% of the workforce feel that the pandemic has negatively impacted they’re mental health.
Another study done by researchers at the University of Southern California show that among 1000 participants:
Over 64% reported having one or more new physical health issues
Lower back pain and shoulder pain were reported to have increased by 50% and 42% respectively
Workers reduced their physical activity and exercise while increasing their overall food intake
Increased food or junk food consumption was associated with decreased physical and mental well-being
From an increase in reports of lower back and neck pain to the emergence of remote work due to the pandemic, people are now learning the drawbacks of working from home. Minor stressors, if left unmanaged, can compound into more significant, long-term negative effects.
But there are things that can be done to mitigate these issues!
5 ways to stay proactive and help your team
A psychologically safe and healthy workplace improves workers' mental well-being while preventing them from negatively impacting their mental health through negligence, recklessness, or intentional behavior.
When it comes to managing a remote workforce, below are five strategies team leaders can use to encourage positive health:
1. Understand and improve workplace ergonomics
Ergonomics can decrease pain, strengthen muscles, and increase blood flow. Ensure that your employees create a productive, comfortable, designated work area. By creating the optimal work space for you, it can highly be beneficial and generate a healthy work environment.
2. Encourage employees to take breaks from their screens
Allowing your employees to take breaks from their screens works wonders on their health. Gamify the act of standing up from your desk and stretching or going for a walk. Taking a break from your screen can ease anxiety, reduce multitasking, and increase happiness.
3. Ask them how they’re feeling and show you care
Make sure the well-being of your employees are being addressed and taken care of. Happy and healthy employees can increase productivity and the overall company culture. Connect with your employees on a regular basis to gain honest feedback and opinions to build a real relationship.
Sign your team up for trials of programs that provide physical or mental health therapy, use qualitative surveys to determine which programs work best, and let your team make the final decision about which provider to work with. Read: Why Mental Health Support is Important in the Workplace.
5. Provide wellness and ergonomics training
An alternative to a Certified Ergonomist that provide ergonomics assessments, there are virtual physical therapy platforms like Phyxable. Their lead practitioner and CEO Dr. Jimmy Feng created a free hour-long session to address the concerns raised by remote workers about nutrition, exercise habits, and the proper ergonomics of home offices.
Session highlights includes:
Workouts: When, What, and Why?
When and how to meditate first thing in the morning
Nutrition: what and how to eat – plus, does intermittent fasting work?
I've been having a fantastic day at work.
Making a plan for your ideal morning routine.
Note: Simply Benefits does not specifically endorse Phyxable or any other provider. We share this as an informational resource only.
This article was provided by guest blogger: Dr. Jim Feng
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