Perhaps you’ve already seen this in 24 hours since it was released but let’s talk about it anyway because L-O-fucking-L.
UK office furniture company Furniture at Work has published a hilarious anti-WFH piece called “From Claw Hands to Hunchbacks: How Working From Home Could Affect Our Bodies.” The article warns that if you continue to work from home you will end up looking like an enemy from Silent Hill by the time you are 70. The company, which definitely isn’t biased at all given that their entire livelihood depends on the sale of office furniture, “sourced scientific research and worked with health experts to fully explore the potentially damaging health effects of working from home” and then worked with a 3D designer “to create a future human whose body has physically changed due to consistent use of laptops and smartphones, poor posture, and an unhealthy diet.”
“Could Anna be the future of remote working?” they ask.
Are you ready for Anna? I don’t think you’re ready.
Note that Anna has a thick, full head of hair because she hasn’t been pulling it out in traffic for 40 years.
Poor posture from regular use of technology “has always been a risk but with many people working from home choosing to work from the sofa or their beds, this could only get worse,” they say.
Not everyone has the space or money for a professional desk setup at home, and this could mean hours spent every day with an arched back and neck strain. Years of working this way could throw your spine off balance and pull your torso in front of your hips, leading to a hunched-back appearance.
Yeah, because no one ever got back problems from being hunched over a computer in their employer’s office.
They got a quote from “internationally published, award-winning, double-fellowship-trained Orthopaedic Surgeon with more than 18 years of clinical experience” doctor LS Wang [the doctor’s website here] to back up the claim:
“Lack of regular movement and ergonomic inefficiencies can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). Chronic pains and degenerative conditions can also develop because of prolonged sitting and inadequate posture (especially when no one is watching).”
More of Anna for your viewing pleasure:
How about them claw hands?
“Text Claw” is a non-medical term that describes finger cramping and aching muscles after continuously performing fine motor activities. In this case, long hours using a mouse or smartphone while working from home, curling your fingers around into an unnatural position, could cause lead to repetitive strain injuries (RSI) and permanent “Text Claw” for remote workers of the future.
The term “text claw” has been around for a few years though most mentions of it appear as blog posts on hand specialists’ websites. And we’re probably all going to have it by the time we’re 70 whether we work from home or not.
If you thought Anna’s woes ended with her fingers, you’d be wrong. Her eyes are shot, too.
I dunno, to me that looks like the face of someone who spent her entire working life commuting.
Using screens can be damaging for your eyes, especially in a work environment not designed for long periods of sitting and concentrating. Without enough natural light or the bright lights provided in commercial offices, remote workers will be putting extra strain on their eyes which could lead to headaches. A 2021 study revealed that one in three remote workers in the UK have complaints about eye strain at the end of each day, and the long-term damage you could do to your eyes is reflected in our 3D model. Anna has dark, swollen eyes after years of squinting and staring at her laptop or smartphone without adequate natural light.
We’re done right? We’re not done. Wrapping things up, Furniture at Work warns that working from home comes with the risk of poor mental health.
The health risks of years spent working from home aren’t just physical. The office isn’t just a place to work, it’s an opportunity to chat and collaborate with your colleagues in person. Missing out on these social interactions could lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression among remote workers, particularly those who live and work alone.
Joni Ogle, LCSW, CSAT, CEO of The Heights Treatment, told us:
“Without a precise work-life balance, no office hours, or a set location to go back to at the end of each workday, the anxiety of not knowing when to ‘switch off’ can become overwhelming. We can start to feel like we are never truly away from work, which can lead to burnout.”
Right, because every office job ends when you leave at 5 (in the case of the Going Concern audience, anywhere from 8-midnight).
Brian Clark, BSN, MSNA and Founder of United Medical Education, says it’s important to prioritise social connections if you work from home:
“Long-term health risks of working from home include mental health concerns such as stress, loneliness, and burnout. To avoid these risks, remote workers should prioritise social connection and self-care, and establish clear boundaries between work and personal time.”
They do have a bit of a point here about isolation but that’s what friends and hobbies are for. Guess what, if your only human contact is with people at work you’re going to get depressed as hell.
Anyway, that’s your future.