Four in five workers working from home have back, neck or shoulder pain

21 September 2020

An arthritis charity has warned that four in five desk workers have suffered back, neck or shoulder pain since working from home during lockdown.

The survey was carried out by the charity Versus Arthritis and, while the organisation says it supports and encourages flexible working as a great way of making the workplace more inclusive for people with disabilities and health conditions, it cautions that, in the case of many workplaces, the coronavirus pandemic forced a rushed transition to working from home full time.

As a result, the charity says, lots of people are finding themselves working longer hours in unsuitable conditions.

In particular, the charity has highlighted the large number of desk workers who are suffering from back, neck or shoulder pain since working from home.

The nationwide study found the following.

  • Four in five (81%) desk workers who switched to working from home in lockdown have since had back, neck or shoulder pain, with a quarter (23%) affected often or all the time.

  • Nine in ten (89%) of those in pain haven’t told their employers about their struggles despite nearly half (46%) saying they take more painkillers than they would like, to get by.

  • One in three (35%) office workers received no kit, support, or advice from their employer on home working.

  • Lower back pain is the most common complaint, with half of all respondents reporting this (50%), followed by neck pain (36%) and shoulder pain (28%).

In a recent statement, the charity said, “As musculoskeletal (joint, bone or muscle) conditions are already the second most common reason for missing work, we are calling on businesses and the Government to take urgent action to improve set ups and employee support”.

The charity says employees, employers and the Government will need to work together to increase awareness and improve support in the workplace.