More alcohol, less healthy food and poor sleep for people working at home

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People forced to work from home because of the coronavirus crisis are drinking more alcohol, eating less healthier food and having problems sleeping, a new study suggests.

A survey of 500 workers by the Institute of Employment Rights (IER) also revealed a significant increase in musculoskeletal complaints.

More than half of those polled reported new aches and pains, especially in the neck, shoulder and back, compared with their normal physical condition.

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Diet and exercise are on the wane, with one fifth of respondents admitting to an increase in alcohol consumption, while a third said they were eating a less healthy diet and more than half acknowledging that they are exercising less.

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Poor sleep and increased risk of exhaustion are also a cause for concern, said the report.

Most respondents reported a loss of sleep due to worry and corresponding increased symptoms of fatigue.

Half said they are working long and irregular hours and are not happy with their current work-life balance.

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One in three said they frequently feel isolated and more than a fifth are worried about job security.

Stephen Bevan, of the IES, said: "These interim findings paint a picture of a new homeworking workforce that faces significant physical and mental well-being challenges.

"Employers need to recognise they are still responsible for the well-being of their staff, even when working from home, and there are a number of steps they can take to improve employee well-being."

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