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Third of homeworkers suffering back pain

22 October 2018

A SURVEY has found that more than a third of homeworkers have experienced new back pain since they began working remotely.

According to new research conducted by health and wellbeing provider The Birmingham Hospital Saturday Fund (BHSF), 58 percent of employees claim to have not been given any advice from their employer on how to set up their desk to ensure they maintain a healthy posture.

867 people took part in the survey, which also revealed that those who had received support from their employer, only 60 percent had an ergonomic assessment. In addition, only 26 percent of staff aged over 50 confirmed that they had received help in setting up their home office.

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

BHSF physiotherapy lead Stuart Nottingham commented: “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.”

BHSF chief medical officer Dr Philip McCrea added: “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.”