It may be hard to believe, but mental and physical health are one in the same. Statistically, one in three people with a health condition that physically alters their life will also have some type of mental health effects in the form of depression or anxiety1. It is...
How Office Syndrome is Affecting Work From Home Productivity
As we continue to deal with the new norm of working from home, employees are experiencing declines in their overall physical and mental health. Workers are reporting increased neck and back pain, as well as hip flexor stiffness or weakness. This also includes feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Yet according to a study published by Forbes, 20% of individuals have seen an increase in happiness with the ability to work from home 1. If that is the case, why do studies show a decrease in mood when people are happier about no longer being in the office?
With remote working comes unavoidable habits. For one, many people don’t have an office or even a desk in their home where they can get work done. According to The National Library of Medicine, when studying 232 telecommunication workers working from home, 37.7% of people don’t have a separate workspace, opting to use the dining room as a make-shift workspace. And 40.9% of individuals don’t have a desk at all 2. While working from home is creating a happier environment due to dealing with less office politics, less structured workdays, and less commutes, the overall positive impacts aren’t outweighing the negatives in the grand scheme of things.
What is Office Syndrome?
It’s important to note that office syndrome is not a disease. It isn’t something that is diagnosed nor needs to be controlled through physician intervention. Office syndrome is a broad term that encompasses the overall symptoms one faces due to unhealthy working conditions.
Some of these symptoms include:
- Back, neck, shoulder, and knee pain
- Numbness of fingers, arms, and feet
- Muscle ache
- Dry eyes
Office syndrome is something one can get due to overworking, constant sitting without breaks, and stressful deadlines. There is still very little we know about office syndrome due to it being a new terminology, but it doesn’t mean it is difficult to manage and avoid entirely.
How to Control and Avoid Office Syndrome
The best way to control office syndrome is to not get it at all. Recognizing the signs of office syndrome is a great way to not let it consume your work and home life. While there may be cases of needing physician intervention, it is very easy to avoid office syndrome by taking the necessary steps possible to combat the possible symptoms you might be having.
- Practice the appropriate posture – Posture is incredibly important to avoid back, neck, and shoulder pain. If you’re standing or sitting straight, shoulders relaxed, and chin pressed forward to expand the length of the spine, your posture will drastically improve. According to Kathi Fairbend PT, “posture affects mood, mood affects posture”. With better posture comes a better mindset.
- Sit differently – Every so often, it is important to change your sitting position. By switching or swiveling to an angle, you can avoid muscle fatigue and a poor posture position. By doing this every hour or two, you will drastically improve your mental alertness.
- Exercise the body – Exercising at work sounds a little odd if your place of employment doesn’t offer any type of exercising programs or incentives; however, exercising drastically improves your mood, productivity, mental awareness, and overall health. At work, you may not be able to jump on a treadmill, but you can take moments to get up and stretch your muscles and maybe even do the occasional jumping jacks. You could even take it a step further and take a walk around whether that is outside or in the building. Doctors recommend exercising at least thirty minutes or more a day, three days a week minimum, with a focus on strengthening your core muscles.
- Practice desk ergonomics – The way you have your desk setup can surprisingly make or break your overall workflow. Practicing proper ergonomics can improve your posture, productivity, and get you feeling confident about your day ahead.
It’s because of office syndrome that many people are investing in standing desks. Being able to adjust from sitting to standing throughout your day is statistically proven to improve your chances of not getting office syndrome.
Office Syndrome and Working From Home
Despite not being in an office surrounded by your co-workers, office syndrome can still become a problem remotely. Working from home prompts us to fall into patterns that are unhealthy for us both physically and mentally. Many remote workers will tend to work longer and sit in uncomfortable positions, such as on the couch, bed, or at the dining room table for extended periods of time. While theses areas are comfortable initially, over time, back, neck, and even leg pain will become imminent and unavoidable.
Taking breaks throughout the day to stretch and giving yourself a time during the day when you could go for a walk will eliminate long term tension and improve mental stability. Setting up a workplace where you can physically do your work comfortably is the ultimate goal. Many remote workers are looking to sit-stand workstations to help streamline productivity while reducing overall physical pain.
Here at LifeDesk, we’re aware of the ever-changing job market. More and more companies are eliminating in-house office work or at least switching to hybrid. The need to have continuous workflow is still equally as imperative; therefore, we offer various styles of sit stand workstations to fit any space. We’re proud of our SmartLeg 1 workstation that fits in the corner to eliminate any space requirement you may have issues achieving, but that’s not even the best part. LifeDesk is the first of its kind that is Bluetooth compatible which means you can control your desk from your phone and track how many transitions you made to fit your lifestyle. We believe you can work smart while being healthy regardless of what your needs are.
For more information and how to get your own sit stand workstation, contact us.
- Bryan Robinson, P. D. (2022, May 10). Remote work increases employee happiness by 20%, new study finds. Forbes. Retrieved September 7, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryanrobinson/2022/05/05/remote-work-increases-employee-happiness-by-20-new-study-finds/?sh=7d193a6d3183
- Radulović, A. H., Žaja, R., Milošević, M., Radulović, B., Luketić, I., & Božić, T. (2021). Work from home and musculoskeletal pain in telecommunications workers during COVID-19 pandemic: a pilot study. Arhiv za higijenu rada i toksikologiju, 72(3), 232–239. https://doi.org/10.2478/aiht-2021-72-3559
- Yeo, M. (2021, December 30). Office syndrome – causes, symptoms treatments: Dr tan & partners. DTAP Medical Clinic | GP STD HIV Testing Clinic Singapore. Retrieved September 7, 2022, from https://www.dtapclinic.com/articles/office-syndrome-causes-symptoms-treatments/