New workplace, new risks

Healthy Living > The new normal > Risk factors and how to combat them

 

Blog Article | By Emma Elstead 17 November 2020

As the world adjusts to a new way of working, there are a number of lesser seen risk factors appearing on the horizon. Here are some things to watch out for as companies return to full productivity and how to combat them.

New aches stemming from poor posture in home office
Risk factor: Working from home aches and strain
 

While many employees had already grown used to flexible working patterns pre-pandemic, most office-based employees could not have anticipated the impact of lockdown on our physical health. Working from the kitchen table or on a beanbag in the lounge might seem like a good idea at first, but get it wrong and a makeshift working environment can easily lead to long-term back problems.

Unusual levels of tiredness because of 'Zoom fatigue'
Risk factor: Zoom fatigue
 

‘Zoom fatigue’ refers to the mental exhaustion associated with online video calls, something we have all no doubt become accustomed to in recent times. Unpleasant sound frequencies and high-pitched background noises are scientifically proven to cause our brains stress. Add to this unstable Wi-Fi or VPN connections, constant interruptions and the energy-sapping nature of interacting in this way, and what’s the result? Unexpected levels of tiredness. 

New ways of working in the office can cause anxiety
Risk factor: Reverse culture shock
 

Also known as ‘re-entry syndrome’, reverse culture shock is something that people who have been living overseas often suffer from when returning to their home country. Expecting everything to be just as it was, in fact they find the opposite. Psychologists have compared our return to the ‘new normal’ post-lockdown as a similar scenario – the idea of returning to our old routines can be seriously daunting for some.

Trying to multitask childcare duties and work
Risk factor: Burnout
 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) may not have predicted what was to come when it announced Occupational Burnout as an official condition just over a year ago, however the term has taken on new meaning in the current environment. The all-consuming nature of working from home, the added stress of childcare duties for some and restrictions placed on our social freedom can be a recipe for feelings of energy-depletion, negativity towards one’s job as well as reduced professional efficacy – all hallmarks of occupational Burnout. 

 

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