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Two-thirds of under-30s have 'WFH back', poll finds

Working from home increases back pain in young adults, a poll suggests.

Two-thirds of Britons between the ages of 18 and 29 said they developed new back pain during the pandemic as a large proportion of staff switched to remote working.

The most common site of pain was the lower back (32 percent), which is often caused by poor posture.

Most modern office chairs are designed to straighten people’s backs and relieve the base of the spine.

But more than one in five young adults say they work from bed at home, while one in six is ​​sitting on the couch. About one in 100 home workers does this from the floor.

The poll was conducted on behalf of the Mind Your Back campaign group and looked at 1,000 adults in the UK.

Overall, six in 10 people said they worked remotely most of the time during the pandemic.

Working from home increases back problems in young adults, poll suggests

Working from home increases back problems in young adults, poll suggests

General practitioner and advisor of Mind Your Back Dr. Gill Jenkins said ‘Almost half’ [of home workers] do not have constant access to a table and supportive chair during their workday.

‘Unfortunately, 20 percent have to work sitting on a couch or bed. This plays absolute havoc with the posture and health of the spine.

PACE MORE IMPORTANT THAN STEP COUNT FOR HEALTH, STUDY

The pace at which you walk may be more important than your total number of steps when it comes to warding off disease, research suggests.

For years, studies have shown that 10,000 daily steps are the ideal place to lower the risk of early death, regardless of the speed at which they are done.

But experts in Denmark and Australia have found that increasing the pace can reduce the risk even further, even if you take fewer steps.

In the largest study of its kind, researchers tracked 78,500 Britons over the age of 40 using wearable fitness trackers between 2013 and 2015.

One study found that 9,800 daily steps at an easy pace were optimal for lowering the risk of dementia by halving it.

But by doing just 6,300 at a high rate, people were 57 percent less likely to develop the condition. For powerwalkers, the risk was up to 62 percent lower.

In a second study, researchers found that every 2,000 steps walked per day reduced the risk of premature death by about one-tenth.

But walking faster was associated with an even greater protective effect.

“Take care of our backs can reduce stress and energize us so we can live our lives to the fullest, without aches and pains holding us back.”

Although England officially scrapped all Covid laws in April, working from home continues to play a big role after companies saved millions on office space and bills and many employees got used to their new work-life balance.

Official statistics suggest that a whopping 14 percent of the current UK workforce still works exclusively from home.

That compared to just 5 percent of people who worked from home all the time in 2019. The share of hybrid employees has risen to a quarter.

The latest poll shows that 39 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds worked entirely from home during the pandemic.

A quarter (24.8 percent) said they worked remotely some of the time.

Bed (21.2 percent) was the most common place for WFH, followed by dedicated office space (20 percent).

The kitchen table was a close third (19.6 percent), while 16.9 percent worked from the couch and 14.9 percent used a small table.

Another 1.2 percent said they worked from the floor.

When asked whether they had noticed any new back pain since working from home, 63.7 percent answered yes.

A quarter said the pain was so bad they couldn’t sleep (24.3 percent) and a fifth said they couldn’t exercise (21.8 percent).

About 8.3 percent said they couldn’t work because of it, and 6.3 percent said they couldn’t do their usual hobbies.

It comes after official data revealed the changing habits of Britons after the lockdown.

The way people use their time every day has been studied in the UK by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) since 2014/15, with the latest figures up to March 2022, when most Covid restrictions were lifted.

How lockdown has reshaped the way Brits spend their time.  This graph shows how people now have more time for exercise and entertainment and socializing, gardening and housework than pre-pandemic driven, in part by saving time on the daily commute by working from home

How lockdown has reshaped the way Brits spend their time.  This graph shows how people now have more time for exercise and entertainment and socializing, gardening and housework than pre-pandemic driven, in part by saving time on the daily commute by working from home

How lockdown has reshaped the way Brits spend their time. This graph shows how people now have more time for exercise and entertainment and socializing, gardening and housework than pre-pandemic driven, in part by saving time on the daily commute by working from home

The ONS found that people exercise and socialize more than before the pandemic

As more people continue to work from home and reduce their daily commute, they have also found more time for gardening, DIY and housework.

But questions about productivity remain as time spent watching TV, reading books and playing video games increases while studying decreases.

The average Briton now spends 25 minutes a day keeping fit, six minutes more than in 2014/15. More people started exercising to prevent boredom during the lockdown.

There was also thought to be a renewed interest in physical health during the pandemic.

People now spend about five hours a day on themselves — including spending time with friends or family, surfing the web and texting — 17 minutes more than in 2014/15.

Britons have also found that in those days they could spend an extra three minutes gardening each day, while the average person now does about 20 minutes a day.

Housework also received a time boost from 2014/15, with the average person now spending two and a half hours a day doing chores like grocery shopping and walking the dog, an extra three minutes compared to pre-pandemic.

Brits seem to have stepped back in time by cutting the commute and leaving the office in favor of working from home.

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