Take a Break From Your Office Furniture and Get Healthy

July 6, 2010
Postural, joint and muscular problems pinpointed to necks, backs, hips and knees are on the increase among workers. These problems could be attributed to poor seating posture, lack of movement in the office and inappropriate or poorly designed office furniture.

A survey recently published in the UK by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) revealed that as many as one in four employees work non-stop throughout the day and many work through most of their lunch break. Furthermore, a Deskbound survey uncovered that 60 percent of the British work force work more than their contracted hours, 36 percent suffer from bad posture and 57 percent suffer from backache.

In 2008, a joint study between researchers in Southampton and New Zealand provided evidence that long hours at an office desk represent a similar risk of potentially fatal blood clots as long distance travel.

Interestingly enough, the Deskbound survey also reveals that only 36 percent of employers provide “comfortable” office chairs for their employees and 70 percent of office staff would like more say in their office furniture. Steps to reduce work related health problems include:

Short breaks – Strain from desk-bound work easily could be avoided with frequent short breaks away from the desk. Apart from having a positive impact on your body, shorter breaks also stimulate the brain.

Office furniture – 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 work force against injuries and back problems. Office furniture manufacturer BT Office also stresses the importance of educating employees so they fully understand how their office chairs operate.

Exercise – Employees need to frequently move about during the day; stretch the body and take a detour on the way to the kitchen, meeting room or printer. With a wireless headset or a cordless telephone, employees can walk around the office while on the phone; this also burns five 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.

BT Office suggests four simple steps that can go a long way in safeguarding good health and wellbeing among employees:

  • Look over your office furniture.
  • Make your employees aware of their posture.
  • Introduce incentives for daily exercise and/or short breaks.
  • Last, but not least, let your individual employees have a say in selecting their office furniture. After all, they are going to use it most of the day.

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