Postural, joint and muscular problems pinpointed to necks, backs, hips and knees are on the increase amongst the British workforce. These problems could be attributed to poor seating posture, lack of movement in the office and inappropriate office furniture.
A survey recently published by Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) revealed that as many as one in four employees work non-stop throughout the day and many of us work through most of our lunch break. Furthermore, a Deskbound survey uncovered that 60% of the British workforce work more than their contracted hours, 36% suffer from bad posture and 57% suffer from backache.
In 2008 a joint study between researchers in Southampton and New Zealand provided evidence that long hours at the desk represents a similar risk of potentially fatal blood clots as long distance travel.
These facts and figures speak for themselves and stress the urgency in employees introducing changes and incentives that could improve staff health. At the end of the day, bad backs and other problems arising from poor posture will decrease productivity.
Interestingly enough the Deskbound survey also reveals that only 36% of employers provide ‘comfortable’ chairs for their employees and 70% of office staff would like more say in their office furniture.
Steps to reduce work related health problems
Strain from desk bound work could be easily avoided with frequent short brakes away from the desk. Apart from having a positive impact on your body, shorter breaks also stimulates the brain.
Osteopaths are urging employers to look over their office furniture and wherever possible invest in appropriate ergonomic office chairs and desks that will protect their workforce against injuries and back problems. BT Office agrees with this and stresses the importance for employees to fully understand how their office chair operates.
Office staff needs to make sure to move about frequently during the day; stretch the body, take a detour on the way to the kitchen, meeting room or printer. With a wireless headset or a portable telephone, employees can walk around the office whilst on the phone; this also burns 5 times more calories than sitting. Google ‘office exercise’ for other ideas that can improve body posture and strength, and reduce the daily strain of sitting for long hours. Gentle exercise in the office can also help burning extra calories before the summer holiday.
BT Office suggests three simply steps that can go a long way in safeguarding good health and wellbeing amongst employees: 1. Look over your office furniture 2. Make your employees posture aware 3. Introduce incentives for daily exercise and/or short brakes. And last, but not least, let your individual employees have a say in selecting their office furniture – after all they are the ones who are going to use them, not all, but most of the day. BT Office is always happy to share their knowledge and assist you in selecting the most appropriate office furniture for your office and budget.