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WHO Highlights Remote Work Risks to Watch Out For

March 1, 2022 Leave a comment DRI Admin

For many organizations, the pandemic sent employees out of the office and into remote work situations. And while the shift certainly cut down on some risks, it opened up a whole new world of potential health and safety issues for resilience professionals to address.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have issued a new technical brief outlining the personnel risks – and benefits – of teleworking, and the changes organizations should make to properly manage the shift long-term.

As many staffers who have enjoyed the change in work will tell you, the benefits include:

  • Improved work-life balance
  • Flexible working hours
  • Opportunities for physical activity, and
  • Reduced traffic and commute time.

All of these have had a positive impact on physical and mental health, higher productivity, and lower company operational costs.

But on the other end of the spectrum are the new risks telework invites if it’s done in a poor physical environment or workplace design, or when using inadequate equipment, including:

  • Isolation and burnout
  • Musculoskeletal and related injuries
  • Increase in smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Prolonged sitting and screen time, and
  • Unhealthy weight gain.

To protect and promote health and well-being in a telework environment, the report recommends employers take an active hand, developing programs to promote safe and healthy work strategies, including assessing and managing workstations, computer and other equipment, and providing ergonomic, mental health and psychosocial support.

Perhaps most important is that organizations don’t come up with these strategies in a vacuum – they should collaborate with employees on how best to implement these measures to ensure the best conditions for everyone.

Click here to read the full report.

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