East of England office workers are putting their mental and physical health at risk by working nearly two hours extra each night on their commute and at home, a new survey for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy reveals.
Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of officers workers polled in the region for the CSP said they continued working on smartphones and other devices after they left the office, and spent an average of one hour 59 minutes doing so.
These stints came on top of an average of six hours 32 minutes in front of a screen in the office during their regular working day.
The national averages were two hours 18 minutes of work at home after six hours 22 minutes in front of a screen in the office.
The results are being released to coincide with the CSP’s Workout at Work Day today, Tuesday, when physiotherapy staff across the UK encourage people to be more physically active in order to combat stress and avoid musculoskeletal disorders, like back pain.
Dr Helena Johnson, chair of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: “The results of this survey are a huge concern to physiotherapists, who see the consequences of poor posture and bad working practices each day.
“While doing a bit of extra work at home may seem like a good short-term fix, if it becomes a regular part of your evening routine then it can lead to problems such as back and neck problems, as well as stress-related illness. This is especially the case if you’re using handheld devices and not thinking about your posture. Talk with your employer if you are feeling under pressure.
“Workout at Work Day is designed to raise awareness of how important it is to look after your mental and physical health to ensure a good work/life balance.
“It is good that so many employers are taking part in the CSP’s Workout at Work Day but as these survey results show, there is still a lot more that can be done to improve the health of the nation’s workforce.”
The survey also revealed:
57 per cent of office workers said their out of hours working had increased in the past two years, but of these people just 7 per cent said their boss was trying to do anything about it.
The main reasons cited for doing extra work were to ‘ease the pressure of the working day’ (43 per cent) and ‘too much work to do’ (37 per cent).
27 per cent of people surveyed said additional work at home helped reduce their overall stress levels
A worrying 19 per cent want their boss to offer counselling services for stress.
Physiotherapists are concerned that ‘over working’ is storing up both physical and mental health problems for the future – particularly since 66 per cent of those surveyed reported suffering job-related ill health such as headaches and back pain.
The CSP warns that poor posture when using smartphones and other mobile devices – which many people do their additional work on – can lead to back and neck pain.
Fewer than one in four people told the survey that they considered their posture when looking at screens outside of work. Long hours can also contribute to stress-related illness.