Workspace and postural challenges in Work from Home (WFH) Scenario

  • Geetha Suresh


The word Corona virus or COVID-19 itself has become a pandemic across the globe. The resultant effect of this pandemic has pushed more than 60 % of the world indoors. The studies on the effect of COVID-19 across the world so far have concentrated mainly on factors related to the economic downturn, psychological trauma, stress of unemployment, and so on. Very few have looked at its effect on physical health and well-being during the lock-down. While the culture of ‘Work From Home’ (WFH) had always been related to software services/ information technology-related sectors, the current pandemic situation has forced more than 85% of other services and sectors to adopt this method. This novel concept of WFH for other sectors has opened up new challenges among households such as lack of a dedicated workspace or multiple members of the family working from home simultaneously. This study aimed to understand the most ignored aspect during this global pandemic i.e. physical well-being and postural challenges in a WFH scenario. An online survey was conducted through the use of Google forms. A total of 326 respondents participated across the world (majority being from India). The results showed that majority of the respondents were from the student community (40%) followed by IT/ITES field (16%). Interestingly, the percentage of female respondents were higher than male respondents (~62% vs 38%). A little less than 50% of the respondents answered that they were involved in video conferencing while around 28% were learning online. An interesting observation was that majority (~79%) of the respondents tended to use more than one gadget at any given time. Despite having a proper study table and chair, respondents complained of neck and back pain. While the participants were aware of proper working conditions, they were oblivious of the standard ergonomic working height ratio. Furthermore, participants said they were aware of workspace related disease conditions such as Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) but were unfortunately not aware of its implications. The major impact of this pandemic, from an ergonomic aspect, has been the realization for the need of a proper workspace at home. This, coupled with the understanding on importance of posture at workspace will potentially help people correct their posture and decrease MSDs or postural pain in the future.