Why working well is no luxury

Investing in workplace wellbeing is not a nice-to-have. It’s an essential, and particularly so for larger organisations.

Ensuring that people can work healthily and safely is a question of employee welfare and long-term loyalty, but all the latest stats also show that this could be one answer to improved productivity.

Protecting our upper limbs

Bigger organisations have among the highest rates of work related upper limb disorders, according to 2015/16 figures from the Health and Safety Executive.

These upper limb musculoskeletal disorders occur either in the hand, wrist, shoulder or neck, with typical examples including repetitive strain trauma, hand wrist tendon syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome or epicondylitis. The most common causes of these problems are manual handling, keyboard or repetitive actions, or an awkward or tiring working position.

Figures show that large enterprises had a rate of 610 cases per 100,000 people in 2015/16, compared to medium sized enterprises, which had a significantly lower rate of upper limb disorders at 440 cases per 100,000, and small enterprises, with 550 cases per 100,000.

For each case of work related upper limb musculoskeletal disorder, 14.1 working days were lost in 2015/16. When you consider that 3,138,000 working days were lost in total due to upper limb disorders in Great Britain in a year, the case for providing more ergonomic and healthier working solutions starts to become clear cut.

Less sitting, more moving

In a typical working week, people spend on average five hours and 41 minutes a day sitting at their desk and seven hours sleeping at night. Prolonged sitting at a desk is said to be not only bad for physical health, but potentially to mental well-being.

Research presented by the Work & Health Research Centre at Loughborough University showed that nearly 70% of employees surveyed did not meet recommended guidelines for physical activity, with 50% of people surveyed who were 50 years old and under, failing to meet these guidelines. The findings also showed that those who sit for longer at work are more likely to sit outside of work and that more time spent sitting at work was associated with a decrease in mental well-being.

Appoint ambassadors

In its Actively Working Well campaign, Fellowes points out that most workplaces are not equipped to promote employee wellbeing and helping people to stay active at work. It is calling for organisations to appoint key ambassadors within a business to educate other workers about best practice when it comes to sit-stand working. Fellowes believes that a more engaged workforce will lead to lower absence rates and a greater competitive advantage when retaining and attracting the best talent.

Invest for sitting, standing and moving

One of the answers lies in actively encouraging people to get up and move around throughout their working day. Another is investment in good ergonomic solutions such as back rests, wrist rests, foot rests, standing mats and keyboard rests. These help people to work with their upper back, arms, hands and wrists in the correct positions.

For promoting healthier working for desk based employees, sit-stand workstations are likely to become more and more integral to improved workplace wellbeing as time goes by. These enable people to vary their working positions. All the evidence seems to suggest that mixing it up by sitting for a while, then standing and then walking around at least once per hour, is the way to go.

With Banner achieving an ergonomic workplace is easier. We’re highly experienced in providing ergonomic furniture and accessory solutions, and we take pride in ensuring the best results. For more details please call our furniture team on 0845 230 8133 or email furniture@BannerUK.com

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