Many companies around the world have announced they plan to allow employees to work from home permanently. People have been working remotely due to the current pandemic, and some have found they prefer things that way. The change will benefit employers by saving money on office space, but they must keep in mind how these changes will affect the health and wellbeing of employees.
A bad work from home setup could cause physical and mental health problems for employees, such as repetitive strain injury and lower-back pain. Employers are encouraged to take care of their workers to support healthy productivity and employee retention.
This is likely the first time that many employees have needed to work from home for an extended period of time. These people will have to adjust from the ergonomically-designed office desks and chairs to whatever they have at home quickly. Not everyone is equipped with a home office, and using the wrong equipment can have a severe impact on the long-term health of employees.
These issues can be caused by a range of factors, such as not taking enough breaks and not moving around enough. Employees should keep an eye on their mental and physical health and take note of any changes. If an employee does notice a difference, they should discuss it with their employer, who should take steps to prevent a short-term challenge becoming a costly long-term problem.
Employers should keep in mind that employee health has a direct impact on company performance and the bottom line. Failing to support the health and wellbeing of an employee leads to drops in productivity and individual performance. It causes a loss of working hours, which leads to major problems down the line. Around 6.9 million workdays were lost in the UK in 2018 and 2019 due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders, including neck strain and back pain.
Figures from a report by Mercer Marsh Benefits suggest up to 68% of employers plan on investing in digital health support across the next five years. These investments include providing employees with the tools they need to manage their physical and mental health. There’s never been a better time for businesses to look at how they support the health and wellbeing of their employees.
The growth of digital health platforms powers the evolution of digital healthcare. These devices allow employees to monitor their health. Healthcare solutions like this are becoming as popular as gym memberships and represent the next step in employee health benefits. Solutions like epigenetics testing and DNA testing detect if employers are prone to particular illnesses and health conditions, making it easier to monitor for those conditions. Providing employees with digital access to medical support also provides remote workers with a comprehensive wellness program that can be used with a non-traditional workforce.
No matter how companies plan on handling things in a post-pandemic world, working from home is likely to become a regular feature of modern living. Employers need to take the time now to invest in digital support programs and prepare for the future.