Experts: Keep Healthy Habits in Mind While Working From Home
Thursday, April 28, 2022
While working from home, it can be tempting to lounge on the couch while firing off emails. But health experts are urging folks to take a long-overdue look at their home office setup.
A 2016 report by the United States Bone and Joint Initiative estimates half of all U.S. adults suffer from some form of musculoskeletal ailment, an issue which cost the nation about $213 billion in treatment and lost wages each year pre-pandemic.
Dr. Russell Amundson - national senior medical director with UnitedHealthcare - said the pivot to working from home has exacerbated the issue.
"They're working from household furniture in a non-ergonomic setting," said Amundson. "And with that, they lose some of that support. And that has actually, research has shown, that's contributed to a spike in low back pain among folks working from home."
Amundson noted about 80% of Americans will have some form of musculoskeletal condition at some point in their lifetime.
He said a few simple steps can address the issue - including focusing on posture, staying active and considering purchasing ergonomic home office equipment.
Dr. Nikki Weiner is the lead ergonomic specialist and president of the Rising Workplace, an ergonomic consulting agency that operates in Denver and several other cities across the country.
She said many ergonomic and musculoskeletal issues are due to improper laptop usage.
"We see a lot of neck and back discomfort," said Weiner. "And if you look at that in groups of people who are not using an external mouse and keyboard and separating their screen - so raising their screen to a higher level so you're not constantly hunched over the laptop - we see a higher level of discomfort in that group."
In a January Pew Research Center poll, about 60% of respondents with jobs that could be done remotely indicated they were telecommuting either full time or most of the time. That's down from about 70% in October 2020.
COVID-19 Pandemic Continues To Reshape Work in America the PEW Research Center 2/16/22
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