The Little Known Risks of Working From Home

home office, work from home, home, officeWorking from home has its advantages. No need to shower, shave or even dress; traffic jams are minimized to dodging laundry in the hallway; and then there's the Judge Judy break at four.

Yet with such fringe benefits come disadvantages and dangers few employers are taking seriously and few employees understand, such as the stress of working daylong in front of a computer in what could be an ergonomically undesirable setting, injuries from household hazards, expectations of being available around the clock, or working alone without colleague interaction and, dare we imagine, without computer tech support.

What are the Risks?

Thousands of fires each year begin in the home office for a variety of reasons, according to data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System. A primary cause is overtaxed electrical systems, as telecommuters jam the electrical cords for fax, printer, computer, lamp and space heater into a single socket.

If Christmas tree lights can cause a short, imagine what office equipment can do.

In a traditional work setting most office workers have adequate lighting, ergonomically sound desks and keyboard rests, and comfortable, adjustable chairs. At home, many workers might toil away at the kitchen table or on a sofa, which might seem comfortable at first but could lead to eyestrain and musculoskeletal discomfort.

For great tips on how to ensure a comfortable and ergonomically sound home office, please see my previous article Is Your Office Ergonomic? The Amazing Difference 10 Simple No-Cost Steps Can Make.

Many at home tend to skip breaks too, as you don't have any of the normal clues from other people around you to take a break. Although you may think of this as being more efficient, the opposite may be true. Everyone needs to take a break every now and then to stay productive.

Radon, concentrated in poorly ventilated basements, might not be a concern for the few minutes that one is doing laundry or other chores, but it becomes a cancer risk after eight-hour days in a basement office. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, claiming 21,000 lives each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

For even more details on the risks (and some of the benefits) of working from home, please see the source link below.

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