As we settle into the working year, we’ve been getting advice from local experts on how we can improve workplace wellbeing.
So far, our articles have looked at ways to care for your physical or mental wellbeing through diet and exercise and how getting active during the day can work towards improving workplace culture.
But what happens when you’re working from home?
Deeanna Piermarini (BHSc (Physio) PGCert (Occ Health) PGDip(Mngmt)) from Body in Motion Physiotherapy and Rehab says working from home can create challenges, both physically and mentally, that can negatively impact on employees.
“The main working from home injuries we see relate to poor workstation set up at home. Our occupational therapists work with clients making sure their set up is fit for purpose and are skilled at doing this without the need for purchasing expensive equipment.
“But working from home does require a degree of discipline too. It can be easy to set up on the couch with your laptop, however in this position it does not take long before aches and pain start to occur. Our therapists are seeing clients with lower back pain from sitting in less-than-ideal positions for long periods of time and clients noticing pins and needles or tingling down the arms, particularly on the mouse side, which can be caused by bad positioning..
“On the plus side, working from home does tend to mean people are up from their desks a little more, which is great, as movement is the best way to avoid discomfort at work.
“Another problem with working from home is the lack of social connectedness, so our psychologists have been working with employers to offer tips to staff on how to remain socially connected to their colleagues as this is really important for mental health and wellbeing.”
In line with other conversations we have been having with other local businesses, Deeanna agrees keeping active every day is important to wellbeing in the workplace – whether you’re working from home or not. However, she would caution people not to jump into anything too strenuous too quickly.
“At this time of year we often see people starting new regimes of exercise as part of their New Year resolution. This is fantastic as exercise has so many health benefits of virtually all aspects of workplace wellness, including helping to improve your mental health and mood, and helping keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age.
“However, if the new exercise regime is started at a level that is not sustainable, or there is an underlying weakness or muscle imbalance, sometimes pain and niggles can occur.”
As such, Deeanna recommends if you have not done some exercise for a while, it is beneficial to see a physiotherapist to give you some basic exercises that will protect your body against pain/discomfort.
“Everybody can exercise, just at different levels. If a client has an underlying pathology, such as arthritis or heart problems, a consultation with their GP and physiotherapist is particularly important before they undertake a programme of activity.”
Body in Motion can support team members in the workplace or help get them back to work after an injury or illness.
They are a leading provider of ACC, insurer and employer funded workplace rehabilitation with a highly experienced team of clinicians.
· Education and early diagnostic and intervention services
· Staff Wellness Sessions
· Pre-employment and functional capacity evaluations
· Manual Handling Training
· Ergonomic workstation assessments
· Graduated return to work programmes (ACC Stay at Work).
Contact them to find out how they can help you and your team.