The rise of Covid-19 has resulted in a range of musculoskeletal conditions amongst homeworkers.
Health and safety consultancy, Arinite compared research from 2019 and 2020 to determine whether UK workers received enough support from their employers to cope with the change in their work environment.
Without at-home workspaces prepared, many employees worked from unsuitable places like the sofa, kitchen, or even bed, resulting in a range of musculoskeletal conditions, according to the consultancy.
In 2019, only 1.4 per cent of the working population experienced work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
This low statistic may be because only 5.1 per cent of the total UK workforce were mainly working in their own home. Whereas in 2020, many have had no choice but to operate remotely.
According to the Office of National Statistics, 46.6 per cent of British employees did some work at home during the lockdown. As a result, last year saw an astronomical 37.7 per cent of musculoskeletal cases connected to work.
Even before the rise of remote working, keyboard work was cited as the third biggest work-related cause of musculoskeletal conditions, overtaking heavy machine operation. This risk has been heightened further by workers operating from unsuitable at-home workstations.
In September 2020, a survey revealed that 81 per cent of employees working remotely during the first lockdown had experienced back, neck, or shoulder pain.
Nearly a quarter of respondents were affected by these symptoms often or all the time. Another 46 per cent were taking more painkillers than they would like, to reduce the aches and pains.
Robert Winsloe, managing director at Arinite, said: “Creating a suitable at-home work environment is crucial to preventing employees developing physical issues that can have long-term implications.
“Although not everyone has a home office, there are always adjustments you can make or adaptations you can add to equipment to create a more supportive set-up.
“Even if workers have a dedicated workspace, it doesn’t mean they’re aware of how to operate in a way that protects themselves from aches and pains.
“With homeworking likely to continue in the future, employers should consider how to care for their remote staff’s wellbeing as part of their health and safety practices.
“Putting precautions in place will prepare businesses for the possibility of remote working remaining commonplace.”
Last year, a survey by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) revealed how homeworkers quickly experienced a significant jump in musculoskeletal complaints, especially in the neck (58 per cent), shoulder (56 per cent) and back (55 per cent).