More than a third of homeworkers suffer back pain

More than a third (37%) of homeworkers have experienced new back pain since they began working remotely, with many receiving no guidance on how to set up their workstation properly.

According to health and wellbeing provider BHSF, 58% of employees have not been given any advice or help from their employer on how they should set up their desk to maintain a healthy posture.

Of those who had received support from their employer, 60% had an ergonomic assessment – 22% in person and 38% online.

Only 26% of staff aged over 50, who are more likely to suffer back pain than any other age group, had received help in setting up their home working environment.

Many employees did not have a proper workstation at home and lacked proper back support. Twenty-seven per cent said they worked at a table, 11% from the sofa and 3% from their bed.

Stuart Nottingham, physiotherapy lead for BHSF, said: “While some employers are doing an excellent job providing ergonomic assessments in person and revisiting these biannually, the majority are failing their employees badly on this issue.

“There is a lot more that employers could be doing to help prevent back pain in their employees, from ensuring their home workstation is set up correctly to providing them with guidance on active working strategies such as getting up from sitting on a regular basis, or advice on simple exercises they can do to prevent back pain and other musculoskeletal problems.”

Its poll of 897 people also found that  26% might not be moving around enough to maintain good physical health, as they did not build any exercise into their working day.

Dr Philip McCrea, Chief Medical Officer at BHSF, said: “Back pain is a serious burden for the UK economy, costing more than £10.7 billion a year, and it’s a condition that’s on the increase.

“As more employers embrace the benefits of flexible working practices, they need to think about how they can help prevent an even sharper rise in musculoskeletal issues, which could lead to an increasing level of sickness absence.”

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