Work at home brings physical discomforts

Pain in back, neck, shoulders has many workers longing for return to office

Work at home brings physical discomforts
Most pain is felt in the back, neck and shoulders but many people experience hand and wrist pain as well

Despite the many accolades for working from home, many workers are experiencing physical ailments.

Eighty-one per cent of U.S. workers say they experience pain and discomfort at least weekly and 51 per cent experience it most days or every day.

Most pain is felt in the back (56 per cent), neck (54 per cent) and shoulders (43 per cent), but nearly one in three people (31 per cent) experience hand and wrist pain as well, according to a survey by CraftJack, a marketing service for contractors.

Half (50 per cent) say the physical pain of working at home is enough to make them long for a return to the office.

Two out of three workers (64 per cent) say their body is less supported at home than it was at their office before the pandemic. 

Over a year and a half since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers have made improvements in their working arrangements at home.

Work from bedroom, kitchen

While 32 per cent say they have a proper home office, 31 per cent say they work in their bedroom. Meanwhile, others have used their family/living room (23 per cent), kitchen (nine per cent) or basement (five per cent) as their workspace.

Workers’ postures may be going through some tough times as many have sat on the couch (68 per cent), in bed (65 per cent), at the kitchen counter (51 per cent) and even in their closet (35 per cent) while they are at home.

More than half (54 per cent) have worked outdoors, according to the report.

While the majority (58 per cent) have some type of office chair while working from home, 27 per cent use dining chairs while 15 per cent work sitting on beds or couches, according to a previous report.

Ergonomic supports

Sixty-six per cent of the workers surveyed would get a more supportive chair or desk but they can’t afford it and 78 per cent say they would use a more supportive chair if their employer paid for it.

More than nine in 10 (91 per cent) American workers have made an effort to improve their workspace during the pandemic, and 90 per cent have spent money to make improvements,

And 58 per cent of respondents say their employer has chipped in either with money or supplies to support the development of their home workspace, found the survey of 1,520 Americans conducted in June.

On average, workers have spent US$282 for workspace upgrades during the pandemic. This money has been spent purchasing the following:
chair (57 per cent)

  • desk (51 per cent)
  • headset (42 per cent)
  • laptop/monitor stand (35 per cent)
  • keyboard/mouse (35 per cent)
  • plants (30 per cent)
  • webcam (27 per cent)
  • art, pictures, decor (26 per cent)
  • ring light (12 per cent)

Many remote workers do not have the tools they need to be comfortable working from home, according to a report by the University of Cincinnati.

Sixty-four per cent of U.S workers have also  an effort to improve their background for video calls and 63 per cent have spent money to improve how they look on video calls.

People typically spend US$195 for upgrades, including: art, picture, decor (41 per cent); blank wall (33 per cent), books (29 per cent), plants (27 per cent), window (25 per cent), open room/whole room (17 per cent), and virtual improvements (11 per cent).

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