The coronavirus pandemic has caused companies to transition into a work from home or a remote setup. While some prefer to work at home for the rest of their career, a few experts came together and created Susan, a model of a homeworker 25 years from now.
By 2045, clinical psychologists and fitness experts have measured what Susan, a homeworker woman, and many others like her could someday become. Susan is obese with digital eye strain, suffers from several long-term health issues.
Experts from DirectlyApply, an online database that helps people find work online, say that the model is a result of what the body can look like if not properly cared for during isolated work. The company said, ‘whilst your bed-to-desk commute may allow for more free time and independence, will the physical repercussions to your mind and body be worth it in the future?’
Working from home has resulted in social isolation, lack of exercise, long hours staring at a screen, continuous snacking, and bad posture. Susan has a number of conditions everyone should consider and avoid to preserve their physical health and mental well-being.
Susan’s Health Conditions
The first of Susan’s numerous conditions is computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. Repetitive eye movements and staring at the screen of a laptop or another digital device result in bloodshot, dry eyes, and blurred vision. In the long run, a homeworker’s eyesight will suffer negative impacts.
Ophthalmologist Matthew Gardiner from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary advise a regular 60-second break from the screen every 15 to 30 minutes. ‘Look away from the screen. Do something else, and refocus on a distant target,’ he said. Sitting two feet away from the device and having softer lighting to reduce the glare would also help.
Poor posture also plagues Susan due to the lack of exercise with strain starting from the neck to the shoulders, hands, and back. The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York advises to get up every 30 to 40 minutes. ‘Even if you’re comfortable, you should never sit in one position for more than an hour,’ HSS said.
Next, Susan obtained a ‘tech neck,’ where her long hours with a device resulted in cervical kyphosis, the abnormal curvature of her spine. Getting up regularly to reset the posture will help avoid this, explained Dr. Daniel Riew, Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. ‘Studies show that sitting for long periods is dangerous to your heart and that it leads to a shortened life span.’
The medical experts advise getting a chair that reclines so homeworkers can lean back. Also, if possible, try to spend time standing up while working.
‘Manage Your Time’
Staying indoors may result in a lack of vitamin D, which will eventually lead to hair loss. Lack of vitamin B-12 may also result in pale and wrinkly skin. A daily dose of early sunshine and fresh air is advised.
Lastly, Susan is obese and highly stressed from constant snacking, overworking, and lack of social contact. To reduce cortisol, homeworkers should have a healthy diet and exercise regiment, and have regular social contact via calls or in small groups with physical distancing in mind.
DirectApply has several remote leaning tips on how to cope with working at home while maintaining good health. ‘Think about how you want to manage your time and what would work best in the broader context of your life,’ the company said.