Did you know that over 30 million working days were lost due to musculoskeletal problems including back pain, neck and upper limb problems in the UK*
One of the biggest issues is that we sit for far too long, in the car/train/bus commuting, at our desks all day and then relaxing in the evening. We also use escalators and lifts instead of stairs, thereby missing opportunities to move our bodies.
When we sit our core muscles cannot support our back and the net result is more pressure through our spine.
This can lead to stiffness and compression through the lower discs and joints, which may develop into nerve compression and pain into the legs.
Similarly with the neck and shoulders, we get engrossed in a piece of work and our neck and shoulders become stiff or headaches may develop because we are just not moving enough.
If we don’t have our workstations correctly set up both in terms of the desk height and also where your screen is located; this can lead to strain of your eyes, neck and shoulders.
Another issue can be tennis elbow or carpel tunnel problems; poor workstation set up can really aggravate or create these problems.
So how can you look after yourself and your employees?
- Remember if you and your workforce are comfortable they will be more productive.
- Consider alerts on your computers reminding people to get up and move around.
- How about sit/stand desks? These are an ideal solution and great for the prevention of spinal issues.
- Have breaks away from the desk; it is really tempting to eat lunch while catching up on emails. Much better to go outside for some part of a lunch break, have a short walk, sit down and eat without doing anything else. People are more productive when they have pauses in their day.
- Do a few desk based exercises, roll your shoulders, stretch your neck from side to side, stretch your arms up, do some gentle twists, shrug your shoulder up and back quite strongly, this will all help release muscle tension.
- Keep hydrated, getting up for a drink every hour is a good idea.
- Make sure the office is not too hot or cold and that the lighting is adequate. Consider plants in the workspace, especially if your view out the window is a bit industrial. Natural colours are very stress relieving; if plants are not possible consider pictures of nature.
All these simple things can help maintain a happy healthy workforce.