A SCOTTISH entrepreneur and inventor is riding to the rescue of millions of people suffering from the aches and pains of working from home through the Coronavirus pandemic.
There has been a huge rise in physical as well as mental health issues since the UK’s workforce was effectively sent home when the country went into lockdown in March.
Now Alison Grieve has developed a kit that eases the physical strain of working from home.
Alison, founder and CEO of Edinburgh-based firm G-Hold, said: “Not many people have a home office environment that is designed for working from eight hours a day, five days a week.
“As a result people are developing lots of back, neck, shoulder, hand and wrist problems which can plague them for the rest of their lives.
“Our Working From Home Kit encourages people to sit and stand comfortably and correctly, with good posture while working at their computers or on their mobile phone or video calls.”
A survey of homeworkers by the Institute for Employment Studies shortly after lockdown started found more than half were reporting new aches and pains, particularly in the neck, back and shoulders.
Alison added: “There has been a lot of talk about the potential impact on mental health of long-term home-working, and clearly that is really important. But it’s also important that physical health is not overlooked.
“There are significant amounts of people suffering because they do not have a proper work environment at home and our Working From Home Kit addresses that.”
Alison was featured on TV’s Dragons’ Den four years ago with her revolutionary G-Hold ergonomic holders for tablet computers.
Although the Dragons turned her down she has gone on to grow the company and also develop a similar holder and stand for mobile phones.
Both products were developed with considerable lab testing and have been proven to reduce strain on arms, shoulders, wrists and hands.
But after hearing of growing problems being faced by homeworkers during lockdown she realised she needed to do more.
The Working From Home Kit includes holders for phones and tablets, as well as ‘Home Hangs’ that enable you to hang your devices from any picture hook or kitchen utensil hanger to allow conference video calls to be viewed at whatever height and position is most comfortable.
“Setting a tablet or phone up on your desk tends to lead to hunching over to see the screen and be picked up properly by the camera” Alison explained.
“This is terrible for your posture and can lead to all sorts of long-term problems in the neck, back and shoulders.
“Even when the pandemic is over it’s clear that home-working is going to be here to stay for a lot of people so it’s important that they have the right equipment.
“Lockdown came on suddenly and it’s understandable that a lot of people found themselves working from home in less than ideal conditions. We’ve even heard of people using ironing boards as their desk.
“But we’re seven months down the road now and companies have a responsibility to ensure their staff are as comfortable as possible and not being asked to work in a way which is bad for their physical wellbeing.”
The £49.99 Kits are also now available to arthritis sufferers after
G-Hold signed a distribution deal with specialist firm Arthr.
Alison added: “For many older people and for people with pre-existing conditions, their tablets and mobile phones have become a lifeline as their only social interaction with friends and family due to shielding and lockdown.
“But it can be difficult for sufferers of arthritis to use their tablets and phones over long periods, or if they do it becomes very painful.
“Our holders and Working From Home Kits make their lives a lot simpler by allowing them to keep in touch with friends and family in a pain-free, convenient way.”
The kits also come with a series of recommended stretching exercises compiled by award-winning osteopath and author Gavin Routledge of Active X Backs and access to an online programme.
“We’re really excited about adding the Kits to our suite of products and are already getting loads of interest, both from individuals and corporates looking to kit out their home-working staff,” said Alison.
“It feels good to be launching a new product that could make such a big difference to people’s work lives and health.”
The Kits are available on the G-Hold website.