Regardless of whether you’re itching to return to the office, studies have confirmed that the long-term consequences of remote work are dire. From an increase in reports of lower back and neck pain to the development of new conditions like “pandemic posture” and “quarantine 15”, folks are discovering the pitfalls of working from home, the longer they stay home.
The physical and mental impacts of remote work
There have been multiple studies on the physical and mental impacts of remote work since lockdowns began, but here are a few takeaways from a study conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California. Out of the 1000 participants:
- Over 64% claimed to have one or more new physical health issues
- Nearly 75% experienced one new mental health issue
- 50% and 42% reported an increase in lower back pain and shoulder pain respectively
- Workers decreased overall physical activity and physical exercise, combined with increased overall food intake
- Decreased physical and mental well-being was correlated with increased food or junk food intake
Staying proactive to support your team
Going back to the office might not be an option for some. But if we could learn to work from home while solving some (if not all) of the problems that come with it, wouldn't that be ideal?
Here's what team leaders need to remember when it comes to managing a remote workforce:
1. Understand your team's demographics and work setup
Remote workers won't always have productive environments at home. Some might have families and a home with a dedicated work area while others might be living in studio apartments and working off of the couch. Understanding the demographic composition of your teams is a great first step in finding the right (mental and physical health) solution.
2. Ask them what they want
Send out surveys to understand what your team needs and values the most from a physical and mental health perspective. Give them a few options of vendors and programs as well as finding out if there’s any they’d like to work with.
3. Encourage stepping away from the screen
Gamify the act of getting up from your desk and doing a few stretches or going for a walk. Creating a daily check-in or exercise timer of some sort in your group communication channels will send the message that you are serious about your team's physical health.
4. Offer them some samples
Sign your team up for trials of programs that provide physical or mental health therapy, measure what program works best through qualitative surveys, and let your team make the final decision about what provider to work with.
5. Offer them a free hour of wellness and ergonomics
We've teamed up with virtual physical therapy platform, Phyxable, to offer you a free hour-long session with lead practitioner and CEO Dr. Jimmy Feng. Inspired by the repeated concerns from remote workers about nutrition, exercise habits, and the proper ergonomics of home offices, Dr. Feng put together a free hour-long session that will tackle all of these concerns.
Here’s a few highlights of the session:
- Workouts: when, what and your why
- When to meditate and how to meditate in the morning
- Nutrition: how and what to eat – plus, intermittent fasting.. does it work?
- Feeling amazing at work throughout the day
- Scheduling your perfect morning routine.
Schedule a session for your team as soon as you can by contacting Dr. Jimmy Feng (firstname.lastname@example.org) Here’s a promo of the same session: