What are the effects of teleworking on health?

For the twenty years of Futura, our editorial team has been interested in a social phenomenon which has accelerated with the pandemic and which has shaken the planet since February 2019: teleworking. It suddenly became the primary mode of work for many people for months. At the time of the face-to-face return, at least in part, what conclusions for the health of people can we draw from this life-size experience?

In collaboration with

Nutritionist doctor

Dr Cocaul Arnaud studied medicine at the Faculty of Nantes …

First of all, it should be noted that the possibility of teleworking one or more days a week is most often perceived as an advantage by employees. Companies that do not offer teleworking to teleworking stations are almost perceived as backward! The question ” What is the company’s policy in terms of teleworking ? Has become the standard in job interviews for the positions concerned. Appearing in an attractive way, the advantages of teleworking deserve to be contrasted and the risks to workers’ health underlined.

Freedom of organization or unlimited availability?

The National Research and Safety Institute (INRS), organization which acts for Prevention is based on the avoidance of negative disturbances or on the reduction of their … “data-image =” https://cdn.futura-sciences.com/buildsv6/images/midioriginal/0 /7/0/070bdc60f3_50035320_amenagement-prevention-crue-clive-perrin-geograph-cc-2.jpg “data-url =” https://www.futura-sciences.com/planete/definitions/developpement-durable-prevention- 6509 / “data-more =” Read more “>prevention from accidents of work and occupational diseases, defined teleworking. He understands ” any form of work organization in which work which could also have been carried out on the employer’s premises is carried out by an employee outside these premises on a voluntary basis “. Through ” outside these premises “, We usually mean the employee’s home. Telework in the space of coworking remains a marginal practice.

According to investigation conducted by Ugict-CGT in September 2021 among 15,000 people, teleworking makes it possible to better reconcile professional and personal life for 71% of respondents. But if flexible hours make it easier to organize family life, two thirds of respondents say they have received requests for periods of time usually not worked. Concretely, 55% of employers have not defined working hours and 60% of them have not implemented a mechanism to guarantee the right to disconnect. In addition, for 47% of respondents, the workload increased with teleworking.

Teleworking fosters the erasure of a clear time signal between work and personal life

As pointed out the Academy of Medicine, « teleworking promotes the erasure of a clear time signal between work and personal life, by a continuous flow of requests at any time “. The consequences on mental health of this lack of limits are significant and are long-term, up to a ” desynchronization ofinternal clock “. Some 26% of workers questioned in the survey conducted by theUgict-CGT consider their state of anxiety to be more important in teleworking than face-to-face. Paradoxically to this ongoing connection, 2 in 3 people say they experience isolation while telecommuting, a sensation that can potentially worsen an underlying state of anxiety.

An environment more conducive to concentration, really?

Employees in the office, especially in open-plan offices, are regularly interrupted in their tasks and are often forced to carry out their missions in a fragmented manner. Teleworking is for some the opportunity to devote themselves to activities requiring a maximum of concentration. INRS specifies that ” the teleworker needs to benefit from relative isolation “. We often hear that teleworking improves performance. Teleworking has increased productivity by 22% according to calculations by the Sapiens institute !

The inequalities are great. Only 67% of respondents can work in a quiet place

But is teleworking an opportunity for everyone to work more calmly and efficiently? Not so sure ! It depends on the surface area of ​​the accommodation and the people present at home during the teleworking day. In this area, the inequalities are great. Only 67% of respondents can work in a quiet place. According to an Ipsos survey, women in particular are 1.5 times more bothered by children working from home than during normal work.

While employer expectations are sometimes higher when the person is telecommuting, not having a quiet place can be an additional source of stress. stress.

No transport, but a hell of a backache!

One of the undeniable advantages of teleworking is to reduce employee commuting time: less fatigue and less stress. But is the home suitable for prolonged work in front of a computer ? While 90% of employers provide at least part of the IT equipment (computer, telephone), only 10% of them provide ergonomic equipment (armchairs, footrests, desks).

In the Ugict-CGT survey, 39% of respondents felt unusual pain since the implementation of teleworking (The goal may be to affect an online service or a company’s network by … “data-image =” https://cdn.futura-sciences.com/buildsv6/ images / midioriginal / e / f / f / eff315adf5_103383_deni-service-dos-ddos.jpg “data-url =” https://www.futura-sciences.com/tech/definitions/internet-deni-service-2433/ ” data-more = “Read more”>From, eyes, cuffs). These are proportional to the telework time; 34% of those who telecommute 1 day a week or less presented musculoskeletal disorders against 41% among those who telecommute 4 or 5 days a week. In a press release from May 2021, the Academy of Medicine expresses itself on this question: “LThe often poor ergonomics of the home workstation can lead to postural problems, bone and joint disorders and neck pain ».

What about weight gain?

Teleworking is most often associated with decreased activity Theories established by physics apply within well-defined frameworks.
La physique…” data-image=”https://cdn.futura-sciences.com/buildsv6/images/midioriginal/8/9/6/896f032c90_91933_physique-def.jpg” data-url=”https://www.futura-sciences.com/sciences/definitions/physique-physique-15839/” data-more=”Lire la suite”>physique. Physical inactivity is a risk factor for chronic diseases: diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arterial hypertension, certain cancers … According to Health: what is the WHO?
As stated in its constitution, the WHO aims to bring all peoples to the highest standard of health … “data-image =” https://cdn.futura-sciences.com/buildsv6/ images / midioriginal / c / 0/3 / c0318e9153_101519_oms-logo.jpg “data-url =” https://www.futura-sciences.com/sante/definitions/medecine-oms-4321/ “data-more =” Read more “>WHO, sedentary lifestyle is the 4e factor of risk of death in the world. It is responsible for 10% of deaths in Europe!

Sedentary lifestyle is the 4e risk factor for death worldwide

A decrease in physical activity often leads to weight gain; on the one hand, the energy intake / expenditure balance needs to be rebalanced in the event of a decrease in physical activity; on the other hand, because paradoxically, moving less makes you want to eat more …

The National Observatory of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle specifies that ” when we are inactive we tend to eat more than we need and foods that are often high in fat and in sugars. “Moreover, as seen above, teleworking can lead to a state of anxiety, it is tempting to fall back on comfort foods.

Public Health France recommends get up several times an hour in order to reduce the time sitting per day, a minima every 30 minutes. During the 1is confinement where telecommuting combined with exit restrictions, more than 50% of people did not reach the recommended 30 minutes ofphysical activity per day !

Yes to teleworking, but not just any old way!

Teleworking remains a social advance for most of the people who can benefit from it. On the other hand, some rules must be respected so that its benefits outweigh its disadvantages. INRS offers some of them:

  • avoid full-time teleworking;
  • organize regular physical meetings to maintain the collective bond;
  • define the terms of the right to disconnect;
  • make employees aware of the importance of differentiating between professional and personal time;
  • make employees aware of the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle;
  • equip employees with ergonomic material.

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