Home-working causes headaches and clumsiness

Amid more flexible working initiatives, one company claims home-working is actually bad for your health.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

This week, in case you hadn’t realised, is Work Wise Week, an annual not-for-profit initiative to promote the benefits of working smarter, not harder – a laudable aim if ever there was one. After Mobile Office Day on Tuesday (working on the move), and Remote Office Day on Wednesday (working anywhere other than your central office), we have Virtual Meeting Day on Thursday (extolling the virtues of the videoconference) and National Work from Home Day on Friday. With companies looking to cut costs, and employees getting increasingly used to the idea of flexible working, it’s a hot topic at the moment.

However, not everyone’s convinced about the benefits of home-working. Water Wellpoint, an ‘innovative wellbeing organisation’, claims that working from home can be damaging to your health – because people don’t drink enough water. Its theory is that in the office we’ll often have easy access to a watercooler – but at home, ‘this may fall by the wayside as the daily routine changes’. Before you know it, your staff will be laid low by dehydration, which causes headaches, clumsiness, fatigue, memory loss, and… something else we can’t remember.

According to Water Wellpoint, our feeble brains will be so befuddled merely by working in a different room that we’ll totally lose all common sense. Even if people set up the laptop in the kitchen, it’s ‘highly likely’ that they won’t remember to drink as regularly, claims WW – and if (God forbid) they have a home office, ‘they are even more unlikely to factor in refreshments’. The only answer, WW insists, is for employers to assess the working conditions of all homeworkers – including ‘hydration facilities’. Or taps, as you or I might call them.

It’s a little difficult to know where to begin with this nonsense. For a start, its argument is entirely self-interested – Water Wellpoint is an offshoot of a company that makes (you guessed it) office watercoolers. And even then it doesn’t make any sense. Unless said employees are hooked up to the office watercooler by an intravenous drip, presumably they have to make the effort to use it every day – so why shouldn’t they do the same at home?

We’re perfectly willing to accept the health benefits of drinking water – but if your employees are really so brainless that they don’t remember how to operate their own taps in their own kitchen, their state of hydration is the least of your worries.

In today's bulletin:

BT loses 15,000 jobs - and £134m
Mortgage cheer as first-time buyers jump by a third
Network Rail boss gives gravy train the swerve
UK workers don't trust social media
Home-working causes headaches and clumsiness

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