The average American spends 40 hours a week at work, whilst this doesn’t seem too far from the European average, it is the 9 hours spent sitting a day by a large percentage of Americans that is causing wide spread issues. Some health authorities have even gone as far to proclaim that sitting is the new smoking. Whilst this previously seemed a little farfetched, the latest figures released shows the decline of a healthy and active population to one that is sedentary.
So What Does Sitting Do To Us?
Not only can sitting in a chair at our desks for long periods of time hurt our backs, especially if your chair is ergonomically designed. Sitting for long periods can also impact our overall health and well-being. Some of the health impacts include but are not limited to being overweight or obese, poor regulation of blood sugar, slower metabolism and some types of cancer. It seems that sitting for long periods of time not only can damage our backs, but can cause us to be less healthy.
How Does Sitting Impact Our Backs At Work?
Fundamentally, sitting incorrectly causes lower back pain. Specifically, in the lumbar region of the spine. This back pain can not only be mild, it can be debilitating and impact everyday life to the point where you can no longer sleep, sit at a table to eat or work. This is known as postural stress, this improper sitting can play havoc with our spine and musculoskeletal systems, impacting our overall health.
How Does Back Pain Cost Corporations Money?
Back pain is responsible for the most sick days in the USA, only second to the common cold. It is estimated that back pain costs the USA between $100 and $200 billion per year , this is a huge cost to the overall economy, but how to corporations fair? Well, it turns out that the average cost for an employer that has an employee suffering from lower back pain is approximately $100,000 per employee. This is a huge cost, especially in smaller organisation that relay on having all their staff fit and healthy.
How Can This Cost Be Mitigated?
Back pain is costing employers and the economy millions of dollars a year. Now we understand the factors that cause backpain and the stress it can put on organisations and employers, here we help you take a practical approach to mitigating it and reducing your organisation overheads.
Ergonomic Physical Work Environments
Large amounts of back problems are caused through employees having postural issues. These can be minimized through creating an ergonomic work place environment for your employees. Look to make purchases of fully adjustable ergonomically designed chairs; these are ones that support the lumbar region of the back, have adjustable arm rests and head rests and adjustable height settings. Other ergonomic options include mouse pads with wrist rests and height adjustable PC monitors. These finer details will make all the difference to employees, a better posture limits the strain placed on the lower back, which in turn lessens the lack of sleep that back pain can cause. All in all it will help employees be more productive and feel far better.
Most of us have spent most of our adult lives hunched over in front of a computer screen or laptop. Whilst some of this damage can be undone through an ergonomic work environment, our backs may need a little more help getting back into the correct posture. Posture correctors help to correct the alignment of your muscles and bones through keeping them in the ideal position for you. Throughout the day our postures decline, especially when we’re tired, so by utilizing one, you can increase the muscle tension in the correct areas of your back. Through utilizing a posture trainer you can expect to lessen your back pain, feel improved mobility and even increased energy levels. Having the correct posture limits the amount of stress across shoulders, neck and lower back, thus keeping employees in work.
Advocate Walking Screen Breaks
Sitting down for too long can increase stress on the lower back and can compound back problems further. Advocate screen breaks and let employees move around and get away from their desks, even if it is to make a cup of coffee. These small breaks help people stretch and can in turn increase blood flow and make people feel more energetic and active. This will directly help employee’s ability to concentrate and can even help to limit fatigue.
Standing Desks As An Alternative To Sitting
Standing desks are becoming more and more common in the work place, they are often fully height adjustable so that all employees can use them. They offer a great alternative to seated desks and can promote lots of health benefits. Using a standing desk can promote better blood flow, better metabolic rate and this coupled with a posture corrector can help alleviate back pain.
Exercise is one of the key factors in limiting back pain, whilst we aren’t saying that everybody needs to run a marathon every weekend, just 150 minutes of gentle exercise per week can help lessen back pain. Yoga can be exceptionally gentle but help to increase mobility, flexibility and help stretch the body, especially in areas where the muscles around the spine are tight. Yoga can be easily conducted in the work environment during lunch breaks and it is all inclusive, with anybody being able to take part. Gentle exercise helps get the blood flowing, increases the metabolism, decreases blood pressure and can help strengthen core muscles, thus helping back pain.
Back pain is one of the leading courses of money lost by corporations and organisations on an annual basis. By making a few small changes to the work environment, such as ergonomically designed environments and standing desks, back pain can steadily decrease. If organisations actively embrace posture correctors and exercise, the organisational culture stands a chance at shifting to one that supports employees to make healthier decisions.
These decisions will also directly benefit corporations, organisations and small businesses as exercise, good posture and ergonomic environments promote productivity, lessens fatigue and can increase employee energy. So, not only can corporations effectively mitigate against chronic backpain, they can also increase productivity through helping employees get fitter, having better posture and increased energy levels.