More than half of Irish workers say the pain they are experiencing as a result of working from home is impacting upon their working day.

Working from home is not only causing issues for employees in Ireland but also the student population, according to a new study.

Research conducted by Fizfit, an Irish start-up selling a range of fitness and recovery products, in conjunction with Dublin City University Business School, has found that 57pc of Irish workers are experiencing pain that is now interfering with their work.

“A sustained period of posture or position increases the risk of injury compared to moving more throughout the day”

With over 250+ respondents to the survey, and nearly 18 months into the pandemic, there has been a clear and notable impact on respondent’s physical health as a result of remote work or learning. Over one-third of workers in Ireland are not working from a desk regularly, suggesting that their day-to-day work is being done on the couch or from a bed.

Early intervention needed

“A sustained period of posture or position increases the risk of injury compared to moving more throughout the day,” said Colm Fuller, Fizfit’s physiotherapy provider and head of physiotherapy at the Sports Surgery Clinic in Dublin.

“Ergonomic workstation equipment such as suitable chairs and desks should act as an encouragement to sit in more neutral positions as opposed to lying on the couch all day.”

Perhaps the most important finding from the research highlights that two-thirds of workers are now experiencing some form of neck or lower back pain since the transition to remote work. Since this segment of respondents have begun to experience this pain, 32pc have highlighted that this pain is going untreated, which may cause further issues down the line for anyone working from home.

“Without early intervention to manage work-related pain, this pain may begin to cause chronic issues such as poor work capacity, reduction in the daily ability for one’s work, a disruption in sleep as well as reduced fitness and activity levels” says Colm.

These findings show that there is a need to ensure that all workers have an ergonomic workstation at home, which can increase productivity. The addition of chair support can help mitigate the risks and the pain that is currently affecting two-thirds of the Irish workforce.

Student burnout

By comparison, more than one-third of students (39pc) are studying from a shared living space such as their kitchen or living room. A quarter of students are dissatisfied with their current work station, which has been a contributing factor to student burnout over the last academic year.

86pc of current students are using a laptop as their primary device when studying from home. With just one-third using an external monitor, this is increasing the risk of poor posture and developing pain in their neck and back.

This pain can be reduced with physical activity and using tools that can help to reduce pain. Foam rollers and massage trigger balls are both ideal tools for deep tissue massages, which can help to reduce the tension built up in your body after a long period of sitting static.

You can download a copy of the full report or visit Fizfit.com for more information on products that will help to reduce the pain associated with remote work.

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 13 July 2021

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