In 2018, it was reported that the majority of UK office workers, around 81% in fact, spent between four and nine hours sitting at their desk each day. Of those surveyed, 64% claimed their office environment impacted their health negatively. Office workers risk cardiometabolic disease and even premature death if things don’t improve.
That’s a lot of hours racked up in a sedentary position. And when health experts in recent times have attributed prolonged sitting to increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases and premature mortality,death, it’s vital that we improve our office set-ups when working from home or in the office. Yet, it’s something that we often overlook.
Effect of a poor office setup on office workers
DBI Furniture Solutions reveals the terrifying truth behind your office setup, both at home and in the office, and what it takes to be person A:
- It’s reported that nearly half a million UK workers suffered from upper limb repetitive strain injury (RSI) and that one in 50 of all UK workers had reported a condition of RSI.
- Poor office lighting, brightness, and screen glare considerably impact workers, causing fatigue and discomfort, as the body has to adapt to the contrasting ambience.
- Office workers can also suffer from poor mental health and bad workplace arrangements.
- Incorrectly adjusted office equipment can lead to blurred vision and severe headaches.
- A deficient office chair and defective workstation are major factors contributing to a poor office set-up. Poorly fitted office furniture has been known to increase the chances of workers developing musculoskeletal disorders
Unhealthy working-from-home conditions
Most of us are confined to our homes for work, which unfortunately brings about some uninvited bad habits and working environments. So, what should you avoid when working from home to maintain a healthy home office set–up?
It’s our home. It’s where we rest and relax. But 2020 turned our homes into mini offices, so we need to unblur the line between home life and work and sit up more. Your posture will thank you for it, and you’ll reduce back problems.
Couch and bed
As tempting as it may be to lie down all day or get cosy on the couch with a laptop, not only does our productivity suffer, but our health does too. Use the kitchen table or home desk for better eye levels and posture to avoid eye strain, headaches, and backaches.
Procrastination is your biggest enemy in your home with no eyes over you. Not only does this affect your work, but it can also negatively affect your mental health.
Succumbing to procrastination weighs us down, demotivates us and makes us feel much worse. Stick to healthy routines, schedules, and that all-important, healthy desk or work table.
Use your home to your advantage by taking regular breaks, walking laps around your garden or neighbourhood, and using your kitchen to make healthy, homemade meals.
What does a good office setup look like?
There’s still hope, whether you’re working at home or in the office. We’ve got some tips on ensuring you’re in a healthier position.
Nick Pollitt, managing director of office furniture supplier DBI Furniture Solutions says: ‘It’s easier than you think to improve your office set–up. It’s all about posture and ensuring you provide correctly levelled office equipment. Certified office chairs are crucial to ensure you meet legislation to provide healthy and safe work seating.’
‘Good office chairs should be ergonomic, meaning they need to be height-adjustable, support lower back regions and alleviate pressure to encourage good blood circulation and posture. You also need to ensure an impeccable office hygiene routine to help keep illness-related absences down.’
One member of several European committees working on office standards, Jörg Bakschas from Adapt Global Group, also has some helpful advice: ‘Use your sit-stand desks correctly, don’t just sit all the time and make sure you take regular breaks. Make sure your chair’s mechanism isn’t locked so you can adjust it to a comfortable position – putting you on the correct eye line to your monitor.’
Juachi Ezenwa, the founder of Journey with Ju, also says that people shouldn’t overlook their mental health: ‘Making your workspace more ergonomic goes beyond the physical impacts such as your comfort level, positioning of your body.’
‘It also applies to your workspace’s impact on your mental/psychological well-being. People often overlook this and focus solely on the physical aspects. Psychosocial factors (non physical) such as high workload/ work pressure and lack of emotional/social support can lead to fatigue, stress and burnout.’