Working from home has lots of benefits. There is no rush while commuting to and from work and it also allows for more flexibility with work hours.
However, while working from home there are several health hazards that you easily overlook because you are in the comfort of your home. These hazards, if taken for granted, could cause more serious complications in the future. Below is a list of top 5 health hazards you should look to avoid when working from home.
Psychological / Mental Stress
Working from home and doing the same routine day in day out can become boring and lonely. This is especially more pronounced now with the world focused on battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most companies are more concerned about keeping their workers indoors, leaving the growing health crisis of declining mental health ( insomnia, feelings of restlessness or sadness, lack of motivation ) caused by remote work being mostly unnoticed.
According to a global study conducted by Qualtrics, over 40% of people said their mental health has deteriorated since the COVID-19 outbreak.
To combat these problems, an expert advised that you to have a goal-oriented schedule as planning out activities and achieving goals can help keep you motivated and stop you feeling down. Also, maintaining social contact through available means like Zoom could help relieve mental stress.
Prolonged exposure to blue light
Blue light is everywhere. It’s naturally produced by the sun. But it is also produced by laptop screens, smartphone screens, lamps among others. Prolonged exposure to blue light can cause eye strain, headaches, increase risks of macular degeneration, among other health issues.
Spending a prolonged amount of hours on your screen while working from home exposes you to the risk of blue light overload. This is more pronounced now with most people spending at least half of their day in front of screens due to the stay at home effects caused by the pandemic.
However, blue light exposure from computers screens and other digital devices can be reduced with special glasses. Also, it takes as little as two hours of screen time to start feeling digital eye strain, so taking regular breaks from the screen will help keep your eye focused.
lounging on your favourite couch while working from home can be very comfortable. But it could also cause posture issues in the nearest future. A good adjustable chair and table are essential considering how long you might have to be in that particular position.
Although you might be using a laptop, the fact that you would be using it for an extended period of time could cause some knock-on postural issues like aches and shoulder pains if used while sitting in the wrong position.
To avoid these problems create a workspace, with a chair that helps you keep your feet firmly on the ground when you are seated. The arrangement should also ensure that your arms and thighs are horizontally supported.
Also, make sure your back is well supported with the top and lower part of your body moving together without being twisted.
Another thing to note is to make sure you sit squarely facing your laptop screen and that the screen should be roughly at eye height to avoid neck pain from prolonged hours looking up or down.
For many of us, working from home is an excuse to overindulge in junk food. Although eating can increase your energy level it can also make you gain an unwanted amount of extra weight.
Apart from overeating, spending lots of time without movement can also make you add some extra weight. Too much stress has also been linked to higher inflammation in the body and weight gain. So, working for an extended period of time without breaks can result in weight gain due to stress.
To remedy these problems, you can maintain a normal eating pattern, eating right can help you reduce weight. By checking what you eat and reducing sugar and fried food consumption your body will lose the added weight over time.
Also, Get into an exercise routine as it helps greatly to reduce weight. Even if you cannot leave the house, find a way to stay physically active while indoors. Regular physical activity can help burn off any extra energy or stress of being indoors and prevent weight gain from lack of motion. Some Indoor exercise ideas include bodyweight workouts and online workout routines.
Indoor air pollution
Many people do not know that there is danger working in an environment that is not well ventilated. The air you breath can contain various germs that can cause asthma as well as eye, nose and throat irritation that can lead to respiratory infections.
People, who have air conditioners at home often do not think to open their windows, believing that the filters of the air conditioners keep the air clean. However, this is not true, air-conditioners have pre-filters in them which can only trap larger pollutants and are not effective against all micro-organisms. So, unless you take precautions, the air inside your home could get dirty enough to actually make you sick.
There are a number of factors that affect air quality, such as mould,
smoke, house dust, how you clean your home and building. According to a YouGov report, indoor air can be up to five times as polluted as outdoor air.
To purify the air in your home you can remove that removing the sources of indoor air pollution and increasing ventilation by opening the windows. You can also use a central air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air filtration (HEPA) filter can trap small particles and pollutants.
So, there you have it, 5 hazards you should avoid when working from home. Although the effects of these hazards are not immediate it’s better to adhere to the listed solution so as to avoid the discomfort and cost you will incur if it happens
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!