Don’t sit back in anger – How to prevent back and neck pain in the workplace

Let’s cast our minds back to 2013.

King Richard III’s skeleton had been found in a Leicester car park.

Andy Murray was victorious at Wimbledon.

And I wrote the first blog to appear on the Paramount website.

It asked a simple question: Are you sitting comfortably? And it’s a question that’s just as relevant today.

Back then, I was writing about Steelcase’s Gesture chair but I thought it was worth revisiting the topic because new consumer research from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) revealed that a third of Brits have taken at least one day off work due to back or neck pain in the past year.

Creating an active culture

The BCA research also found that 40% of workers who spend the majority of their time at work sitting don’t feel like they are able to take regular breaks, with only 6% reporting they are actively encouraged to.

Less than a quarter of respondents had received advice from their employer on how to sit at their desk and only a fifth had been offered a desk assessment, ergonomic chairs or laptop stands.

Top tips for preventing back or neck pain at work

Here are the BCA’s guidelines on how employees can prevent back or neck pain:

  • Keep moving – take breaks every 30 minutes to move your joints and muscles
  • Stand more – Look for opportunities when you can do your job while standing, such as making a phone call.
  • Check your set up – Set your workstation up in a comfortable position. Think about screen height, back support and the height of your knees.

And here’s some advice for employers:

  • Assess desks – undertake desk assessments for staff so that they can be given specific advice about setting up their workstation.
  • Technology – Everything from adjustable screen stands and standing desks to exercise apps and seating which encourages movement while sitting can help to prevent issues.
  • A healthy culture – While assessments and ergonomic office furniture will help, it’s also important to create a company culture where being active is encouraged.

Practising what we preach

At Paramount, we recently refocused our attention on the importance of preventing back or neck pain in the workplace.

We’re lucky enough to have a number of active people in our teams who take part in everything from triathlons and boxing to horse riding and surf lifesaving.

This makes it a lot easier to encourage them to move around our ShowOffice more.

We’ve even managed to get out and about as well…

We also shared some information in the office from BackCare, a charity dedicated to educating people about the ways that they can prevent and alleviate back pain.

They’ve collected helpful information and guides on everything from choosing the right office furniture to simple exercises for office workers.

As organisations place more emphasis on wellbeing in the workplace and how their office design can encourage a healthier work life for employees, it’s important to ensure that people know how they can prevent back or neck pain.

If you’d like to find out how we can help you create a healthy, agile working environment, get in touch today.

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Categories: Office DesignOffice Furniture

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