It’s widely acknowledged and there are any number of surveys and pieces of research that say we need to have at least two and half hours of physical activity each week, sitting for prolonged periods of time and being inactive can in fact lead to an increased risk of heart disease. The link between illness and sitting first emerged in the 1950s. But did you know that sitting for prolonged periods can also dramatically increase your risk of back pain in the workplace resulting in ill health and absences from work? Spending hours sitting behind an office desk is not good for the spine, back or the body.
As we spend increasingly longer hours at work it’s becoming even more important to be active and to move about to proactively prevent back pain in the workplace which can have a negative impact on staff morale, health and be bad for business.
So what can you do to keep your back healthy and ensure good back care? Here a few ideas to get you started:
Avoiding Back Pain in the Workplace By Staying Active
One of the easiest ways to prevent or manage back pain is to stay active. By moving around you exercise muscles which increase your body’s fitness and strength, including your back. Helping staff to ‘stay active’ can be achieved through a number of office furniture products that can help your staff to avoid sitting for long periods, thereby improving their back care and transforming working practices. Here are a few examples:
A popular solution to the problem are sit-stand desks (also simply known as ‘standing desks’). This type of desk comprises a single or split level worktop which can usually be raised or lowered to allow the user to work standing or to lower the height to allow sitting. This flexible solution means staff aren’t forced to remain sitting throughout the day; instead they can adjust the desk height and allows them to work while standing.
Standing desk designs nowadays can either be an integral part of a desk or for more flexibility they have also been designed to work with existing desks. These are called ‘desk risers or desk mounts. Desk risers are portable and easy to fold. They sit on an existing desk and consist of a platform that can be raised or lowered according to the height required. This is not only a cheaper solution but makes is a more practical solution for employees who may need to move desks or who have to desk share.
Up Stools or Active Seating
When we do sit, it’s important that we move often and that we can move easily and that the chairs or stools we use encourage frequent motion. Up stools combine motion and mobility, stimulating hip and core movement. They can offer the same movement benefits as you would get from sitting/exercising on a gym ball!
Mats and Wobble Boards
Although research advocates standing it’s just as important that when we stand, we don’t remain still. When standing working at a desk mats and wobble boards help to encourage movement that is essential to boost blood circulation. Subtle movement is less tiring than standing still and can also help avoid strain to feet, ankles, knees, hips and back.
Deal With Stress
Workplace stress is reaching epic proportions. In fact according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in 2014/15, 440,000 people in the UK reported work-related stress at a level they believed was making them ill. That’s 40% of all work-related illness. A range of illnesses and symptoms including psychological problems, stress, anxiety and depression, are believed to be behind one in five visits to a GP.
Backcare the British medical research charity dedicated to the management of back problems believe stress is the most consistent predictor of back pain. They say: “The evidence supports the idea that back pain is one of the most common forms of somatisation. ‘Somatisation’ is the technical name for the very common process through which psychological stress causes physical symptoms. Put simply, the body functions differently in the context of stress.”
As a business owner you can tackle stress in the workplace in various different ways e.g. by managing work levels work to make sure staff aren’t overloaded; by checking that staff aren’t working through their break times to try to keep up with work and by encouraging staff to seek help when they are feeling stressed to the point that it is making them unwell.
Another way is to have designated workspace areas that are designed as informal, break out areas where staff can get away from their desk and computer and take a break and relax thereby relieving stress.
Through these simple tips you can reduce your staffs’ risk of stress and back pain which can only be to the advantage of your business.
Furniture for Your Workplace
There are a great many choices when it comes to office furniture and sometimes it can be difficult to work out what would work best for you. Before deciding the right office furniture for your business talk to JBH Refurbishments. We have a comprehensive range of office, reception and waiting room furniture to suit every requirement and comfort. Our extensive catalogue includes over 50,000 items of quality and durable furniture that comes in contemporary styles with a variety of colours and finishes to choose from.
Don’t forget we also offer bespoke furniture. Our professional carpenters specialise in handcrafting office furniture to meet every need.
If you have any additional office refurbishment/fit-out questions, please get in touch. JBH Refurbishments has more than 25 years’ experience in office refurbishment and have completed hundreds of successful projects. Contact our team to help guide you through your refurbishment project.