Hybrid work worries professionals - what employers and employees should take care of today

The pandemic has brought the hybrid working model into our lives and we have been working from home for much of the last two years. However, not everyone has a suitable workspace in their home and health and posture suffer as a result. According to the data of Lietuvos Draudimas, the 327% increase in the need to visit physiotherapists shows that people are indeed facing dire consequences. The problems that physiotherapists deal with range from physical pain to improving emotional health. So what's important to know when returning to work after a summer on your feet?

The pandemic has brought the hybrid working model into our lives and we have been working from home for much of the last two years.
The pandemic has brought the hybrid working model into our lives and we have been working from home for much of the last two years.
Physiotherapist Viktorija Lizunova.
Physiotherapist Viktorija Lizunova.
Simonas Lisauskas, head of the Business Clients Department of Lietuvos Draudimas.
Simonas Lisauskas, head of the Business Clients Department of Lietuvos Draudimas.
Daugiau nuotraukų (3)

Lrytas.lt

Sep 6, 2022, 12:00 PM, atnaujinta Sep 6, 2022, 12:08 PM

Living room furniture is for relaxing and coffee tables are for coffee

Back pain has always been one of the most common problems physiotherapists face in their work. However, a specialist says that during and after the lockdown period, she notices a change in problems.

"The biggest difference we notice from the patients' stories and their condition is that the problems have often become acute. As people tell us, they suddenly get up one morning and realise that they can no longer move without pain. This is indeed very much influenced by the work at home, which is usually not ergonomically designed for seated work. So people have to learn to live in a new way because hybrid work is becoming more and more entrenched," says Viktorija Lizunova, founder of Viktorijos Lizunovos Physiotherapy Clinic.

According to her, it is critical to work at a dedicated desk, sitting on a desk chair. Living room furniture is for relaxing and the coffee table is for having coffee, and it's completely inappropriate for sedentary work. If one does not pay attention to this, sooner or later the body will start sending signals.

Demand for physiotherapy has grown by more than 300 per cent and the health insurance market is growing rapidly

Simonas Lisauskas, head of the Business Clients Department of Lietuvos Draudimas, says that in recent years, there has been a significant change in the trend of visits to physiotherapists.

"Looking at our company's health insurance sales, we can see that the popularity of physiotherapy and rehabilitation has increased significantly - comparing the second quarters of 2021 and 2022, this year the demand for physiotherapy grew by 327%. Physiotherapy exercises and massages are not only necessary for recovering from an illness or injury, but are also a great preventive measure, as a sedentary lifestyle and a lot of time in front of the computer really affect our health," says Simonas Lisauskas.

According to the insurance expert, the most popular treatments are inpatient, outpatient, and dental treatments, as well as various preventive tests. The health insurance market in Lithuania in January-July 2022 reached a premium level of EUR 48.4 million and grew by 40.9% compared to the same period last year. The growth of Lietuvos Draudimas was slightly higher than the market and reached 41.4%.

"Health insurance has also become a very important motivational tool and both employees and employers see its benefits. Some employers, including Lietuvos Draudimas, are also giving their employees additional benefits for setting up a workspace at home to help their employees create a workspace where various health problems can be avoided," says the Lietuvos Draudimas expert.

The movement also improves emotional health

Viktorija Lizunova points out that it is critical not only to have a suitable workspace but also to remember to take breaks, exercise, and have a clear daily routine that does not mix work and rest.

"Anyone who has been exposed to physiotherapy can see that movement has positive benefits for physical health. But it is also important to know that applying the right physiotherapy techniques can help you get rid of anxiety, reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue, or improve the quality of your sleep," says Viktorija Lizunova.

According to her, exercise increases the body's production of endorphins - the happiness hormones that reduce stress and induce a state of calm and bliss.

"Humans are designed to move, and if they choose a passive lifestyle with a sedentary tendency, they are going against their nature. Sitting often leads to back pain, shoulder tension, and shoulder, hip, and knee pain. These structures are probably the most stressed by prolonged sitting. The human body is made up of many muscles, and the main function of a muscle is to change its length, in other words, to move, so it is important to keep this in mind, as correct movement can prevent many diseases," says the physiotherapist.

It's important not to delay when in pain

Both the insurance representative and the physiotherapist point out that a particularly acute problem during and after the lockdown period has been the long queues at medical institutions, where treatment reimbursed by the health insurance funds takes a month or more.

"I have no doubt that this has significantly contributed to the growth of health insurance because private medical institutions are paid for and those who purchase this service do not have to pay out of their own pockets or wait in long queues - this has a significant impact on the quality of treatment," says Simonas Lisauskas, a representative of Lietuvos Draudimas.

According to physiotherapist Viktorija Lizunova, after the lockdown, it is very common to come across people who have been in pain for a longer period of time, who have had a rather haphazard treatment, or who have not even received proper help.

"Prolonged pain limits a person's freedom of movement, forcing them to give up some of their favourite activities and sometimes even severely restricting them. This leads to long-term consequences. Patients are afraid to perform the actions that caused the pain for a long time because the pain is so ingrained in their memory, and the treatment lasts considerably longer. Pain, like any injury, is not treated immediately and requires much more work and time to get back to a healthy life,” says the physiotherapist.

As the founder of Viktorijos Lizunovos Physiotherapy Clinic says, the biggest winners are those patients who consciously know that working from home means much less physical activity and, therefore, extra effort is needed to improve their body condition.

"We see that it is in autumn, when people come back from their summer holidays and are recharged with energy, that they start to develop new skills, just like the start of a preventive treatment to learn how to do exercise properly," notes the physiotherapist.

Essential tips for getting back into the rhythm of autumn work

Viktorija Lizunova shares some tips on what people, especially those in sedentary jobs, should get into the habit of doing every day.

Pauses, deep breathing. Close your eyes, rest your eyes, take a deep breath counting to three and slowly exhale. Do this several times. Many people restrict their breathing when they are working intensively and responsibly or when they are faced with a stressful situation.

Stress makes you tense, breath shallowly and shallowly, and your whole body works in the same stressful mode. Shoulders rise, the heart beats harder, and headaches and eye pains are common. That is why deep breathing is one of the main lifesavers.

Sit properly, and create your own working area. It may sound simple, but do you really know what the correct sitting position is? Do you not only know it but also practise it? The truth is that a prolonged position, whether standing, sitting, or lying down, is inappropriate and even harmful.

It's important to change positions and, more importantly, to learn how to choose the optimum working conditions. Adjust your work chair, desk, and computer monitor to your body proportions. Take breaks. And when working from home, create a suitable work area and work only in it.

"There are all sorts of ways people can help themselves to work more efficiently and stay healthy, it's just a matter of choosing the right ones, and a physiotherapist can help you do that. During breaks at work, people should do mini exercises that help them to stretch and move. Even a simple arm lift with a deep breath and a stretch can be a great part of working at the computer, but it's important not to forget to move," says specialist Viktorija Lizunova.

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