2020 is the year of smart working. As a result of the corona pandemic, many companies that had previously resisted implementing modern work concepts such as home office or flexwork on a large scale were forced to restructure. Many employees enjoy the new freedoms that come with it – joining a team meeting in sweatpants or working from the balcony, for example – but what if this situation lasts forever? How would it change us if we worked forever in the same environment we live in? The Directly Apply job exchange has dealt with these questions and created a computer simulation that predicts the effects of the permanent home office on our health, posture, weight, skin and hair. The result is scary!
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Smart Working: This is what an employee would look like after 25 years
Both clinical psychologists and fitness experts worked on the simulation, which aims to illustrate what an employee might look like after 25 years of smart working. This projected prototype was named Susan by the researchers. Living and working at home, with little social interaction and little contact with fresh air and sun, Susan is not only definitely overweight – perhaps due to the fatal proximity to the refrigerator – but she also has a long list of physical, orthopedic and to fight psychological problems; these range from dark circles under the eyes to deformities of the neck and back, severe nearsightedness, a pronounced belly, early wrinkling and a dull skin tone.
Susan is an amalgam of negative effects that are already known to research, such as a lack of sunlight, which can lead to inadequate vitamin D intake in the long term. Possible consequences of this are hair loss and skin problems. And that’s not all: working on the laptop could lead to the so-called Tech-Neck-Syndrome or “KoNaSchu”, which is caused by poor posture and causes severe pain in the head, neck, shoulder and back area. In addition, there are visual disturbances due to the large amount of time we spend in front of the computer screen.
It is also known that the permanent home office also has negative effects on the psyche: If you lack physical proximity to other people, you have to expect rising blood pressure and a higher stress hormone level, which in turn has a negative effect on your overall health.
How to avoid Susan’s fate
In order to avoid the pitfalls of smart working and not end up as Susan, we have to consciously monitor our behavior. Directly Apply recommends the following measures:
1. Maintain routine
Anyone who works from home should try to maintain a constant routine if possible. The psychologist Dr. Rachel M. Allan states that “Maintaining a routine that adapts to your life, productivity levels, and job demands is essential to maintaining optimal physical and mental health in the home office. The routine enables you to better manage your time and optimize your attention span. Think about how you are going with your time and what might work best in the wider context of your life. ”
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2. Maintain social contacts
Having good relationships with colleagues is good for morale and productivity, and improves emotional health in the workplace.
3. Keep moving
Sitting in front of a screen all day can lead to a significant lack of exercise. It is therefore important to take the time to exercise and, especially after a long day at home, to get some fresh air.
4. Find a work-life balance
Psychologist Kate Brierton advises “Always remembering that to stay healthy and be the best version of yourself, both at work and at home, you need rest.” Therefore try to set up a clearly delimited workplace at home, ideally in a separate room; If this is not possible, a work area can be demarcated by moving furniture such as shelves or clothes rails, or with the help of plants. It is also important to have regular breaks, during which you can get up and move around during the working day to eat and drink and, if possible, go outside for a few minutes.
5. Enjoy your free time
However, smart working also saves a lot of time and thus has the potential for physical and emotional health benefits: Instead of being stuck in rush hour traffic, employees can spend time with friends and family, take a walk in nature or do a physical activity that they have previously done Couldn’t afford a lack of time. This in turn increases performance at work.
7. Improve the working atmosphere
Home office does not have to mean that you work alone, on the contrary: it offers the perfect opportunity to improve collaboration within the team.
This article is based on the original “5 tips to avoid getting ugly with smart working “, which was published by GQ Italia.
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