Remote working ‘Anna’ is a myth, but raises valid concerns

Viral images suggesting what remote workers could look like in the future have caused outrage.

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(Photo: Furniture@Work)

If you’ve been on social media over the past few days, you may have been introduced to “Anna.”

She’s a 3D model whose physical appearance is not too easy on the eyes, with a hunched back, exaggerated wrinkles, sunken eyes, sagging skin and a nasty scowl on her face.

The trouble is that Furniture@Work, a UK-based retailer, created Anna as a suggestion of what remote workers could look by the year 2100…if they never take steps to create their own dedicated, ergonomic and healthy workspace at home.


Figure fears

The suggestion that Anna is the future remote workers have to look forward to has offended a lot of remote workers, and caused others to worry about what working from home could do to their bodies.

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Remote workers have more flexibility to go the gym, or even work while exercising. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels)

But there’s no truth to this speculation.

To begin with, anyone who does not mind their posture and make an effort to live a healthy lifestyle can fall prey to ill health — whether they work remotely or in a physical office.

Additionally, if anyone, remote, hybrid and other flex workers have more of an opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle since they have more work-life balance.

These kinds of workers have more time to go to the gym or take a walk during the day, and some have even adopted home gyms so they can get their exercise in while working.

It’s plainly not the case that Anna is anyone’s future just because they happen to work from home.


Valid concerns

However, the 3D model does raise concerns about making sure all employees — not just remote workers — take care of their wellbeing.

Furniture@Work actually created the model based on research from the University of Leeds. That research found that only around 33 percent of remote workers in the UK have a dedicated workspace at home.

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It's important for all workers to maintain a healthy lifestyle, not just remote workers. (Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash)

One of the 3D models shows Anna hunched over her laptop in bed, with an array of unhealthy food items littered around her.

This likely meant to convey that she doesn’t have a dedicated workspace, and perhaps spent years working in bed, maintaining poor posture, not getting enough exercise and not properly separating her work life from her home life.

The message came across the wrong way, but there is valid concern about what could happen to your body in the long term without the proper ergonomic setup to maintain a healthy posture and healthy body overall.

For office workers, it’s generally granted that you will have a workspace with a desk and chair that hopefully adheres to ergonomic standards.

But when working from home, many businesses will not provide this kind of equipment or even inquire about your home setup — just as long as you get the work done.

The responsibility does fall on the remote worker to make sure they are working in a healthy way, such as taking regular breaks, being sure to stretch and work in positions that will not put undue strain on their bodies.

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