Side-Effects Of Work From Home: This Is What You Will Become After 25 Years!

Side-Effects Of Work From Home: This Is What You Will Become After 25 Years!
Side-Effects Of Work From Home: This Is What You Will Become After 25 Years!

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill for the past 4 months. Not only have the economies of the countries been hit but also the physical and mental health has taken a toll.

Job discovery platform, DirectApply has released a digital model of how a remote worker will look like 25 years from now on if they don’t change their working habits. They have named her Susan and their prediction definitely doesn’t look good!

Read on to find out more…

SUSAN- A Remote Working Employee!

According to a study by IWG, in the pre-COVID-19 world,  80% of people would turn down a job offer that didn’t offer flexible working when faced with two similar employment offers. Now despite 50% of companies doing daily video calls and online meetings during lockdown, 29% still feel less productive than ever before.

With many forced to work from home, the living room or bedroom has become their office cubicle where the canteen aka kitchen is just 20-30 steps away from the workstation. The hoarded snacks are being devoured constantly and due to restrictions on going outside, they are glued to one place. These unhealthy habits have led to deteriorating physical health.

With companies aiming to shift to work from home models for a long run, this will further deteriorate the physical and mental health of their employees.

DirectApply, with a few clinical psychologists and fitness experts, through its digital model ‘Susan’ has shown many physical implications of what spending hours glued to your laptop can unknowingly do to physical and mental health.

The DirectApply website says, “Coronavirus has undoubtedly revolutionised the way companies work, with many businesses already looking to implement permanent hybrid and flexible working schemes – but just how long will it take before the benefits of remote work no longer outweigh the negatives?”

Here’s what we can expect if we dont change our unhealthy work from home habits…

Computer Vision Syndrome

When you are at office, you constantly and unknowingly take screen breaks by attending meetings, having lunch, having chai-sutta breaks or even just randomly going over to your colleague’s desk to gossip. 

At home, you don’t have any of these breaks. Even when eating you watch TV or to call your friend you need a screen.

Being glued to your laptop screen for hours can cause ‘Digital Eye Strain’ or ‘Computer Vision Syndrome’. This strain on eyes leads to dry, inflamed and bloodshot eyes. It can also cause eye irritation, redness and blurred vision. In the long run it can negatively impact your eyesight.

How to Avoid This?

Take 5-10  mins break after working at your screen every hour or so. Read a book, or just take a stroll in your apartment. Also try to reduce screen time post work hours.

Poor Posture

At the office or at home, too much time spent with incorrect posture in front of your laptop or at your desk can lead to a hyper-extended neck over time. With no physical exercise this will extend from your neck to your back leading to rounded shoulders and hunchback in the long run.

How to Avoid This?

Invest in a chair and a desk that won’t strain your neck, and keep your posture in check. Do workouts for your neck, shoulder and back at your desk. Couple them with taking a break of 5-10 mins every hour to break the sitting posture.

Repetitive Typing Strain

Typing repetitively for a long time can cause repetitive strain injury (RS) to your hands and wrists. This injury can worsen and lead to bad posture of the overall body in the long run. 

How to Avoid This?

If you are experiencing this, check whether your work from home setup is causing you to stretch your hands and fingers and leading to discomfort. Adjust your mouse, keyboard and screen as per your comfort level. Check whether any of these gadgets is causing RSI. Take short, regular breaks and relax your muscles  to help prevent RSI and other upper limb disorders.

Hair Loss

Working indoors and not getting enough exposure to the sun can lead vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D gets absorbed through skin when you go out in the sun. Deficiency can cause hair loss and stunted growth of hair. Vitamin D deficiency can also be linked to an autoimmune disease, Alopecia which can cause bald patches on the scalp. 

How to Avoid This?

If the restrictions in your area have been loosened, go for an early-morning walk. Or you can bask in the sun early in the morning by going to your balcony, terrace or even window. This is great for your mental health as well.

Dark Circles

Being glued to multiple screens can cause dark circles, leaving you looking exhausted and drained even after long periods of time. Dark circles can worsen when you strain your eyes, causing blood vessels in that area to enlarge. 

How to Avoid This?

Take short, regular reading or strolling breaks after working at your screen every hour or so. Try to reduce screen time post work hours and get plenty of sleep. Keep your room bright so you won’t have to squint when looking at your screen. 

Tech Neck

The ‘text neck’ is a very modern problem caused due to looking at your phone or laptop. This leads to excess strain on your neck, rounded shoulders and often counter strain in other parts of your body such as increased lower back pain and shortened hamstrings.

How to Avoid This?

Joe Mitton, Personal Trainer recommends Yoga as “the perfect remedy for stiffness and ‘tech neck’. Keep your posture in check. 

Increased Wrinkles and Dull Skin

Being glued to your screen can cause premature lines forming beneath the surface of the skin, leading to wrinkles, crows feet or frown lines. Lack of Vitamin D and B-12 due to reduced sun exposure can cause a pale, lifeless-looking and malnourished skin. 

How to Avoid This?

Make sure you get enough sun exposure by taking an early-morning walk. Take short and regular breaks from screen time. You can also turn on the night light feature in your laptop or invest in good quality blue-light blocking glasses.

Obesity

In the lockdown, you must have gained a few kilos!

Glued at one place, constant snacking and zero physical activity can overtime lead to obesity. Working at home can cause people to become overweight and lead to accumulated fat in the stomach, thigh and abdominal area as well as ankle area.

How to Avoid This?

Exercise regularly at home or outside and maintain a balanced diet. 

Kate Brierton, Clinical Psychologist reveals that remote working is a great time-saver and opportunity ”to support your physical and emotional health. You could spend that time socialising with friends and family, taking a walk in nature, or doing a fitness activity you enjoy. All of these activities are good for us and will improve your overall performance at work more than simply having a longer working day.”

Increased Stress

Decreased social interaction and human contact and working overtime can cause  an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol. This raises blood pressure and in turn have dangerous effects on overall health. Overworking causes chronic stress which  produces high levels of adrenaline and cortisol. This is associated with chronic health conditions and cardiovascular diseases.

How to Avoid This?

Kate Brierton, Clinical Psychologist, comments that “going without human contact for long periods of time can lead to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which raises blood pressure and has harmful effects on physical health.” She also advises, “remind yourself that you need down-time so you can stay healthy and be the best version of yourself both at work and home. Try to have a delineated home-working space if you can, ideally a separate room, but if that’s not possible, delineate the space with the way you lay out the furniture, use some house plants.”

Positive working relationships can lead to good morale, productivity and boosts emotional health at work. 

According to Dr Rachel M Allan, “some of our most important professional relationships have their origins in the informal chats and unstructured moments that occur organically in the physical workplace. Remote working may require us to consciously build in opportunities to connect informally with colleagues.”

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