Many workers in offices across the USA every year suffer from back pain, and the traditional office culture of sitting in front of a desk for hours on end certainly does not help the situation.
Some Office Practices That are Bad for Your Back
Lots of people’s back problems first develop or are aggravated by bad office practices such as:
- Sitting down all day to carry out work
- Having to do the same repetitive movements all day long, e.g., typing at a keyboard or answering the phone.
- Poor back posture
- Working overtime and particularly long working days
- Eating food at workstations
- Work related stress
- Gaining weight at work
- Not exercising or having the opportunity to go for a quick walk during the working day
Adjustments Employers Can Make to Look After Employees’ Backs
Create An Ergonomic Workspace
In an ergonomic workspace, employees should have comfortable chairs and be able to reach anything they need without having to stretch. Here are some things employers can ensure in order to create an ergonomic workspace:
Have important work items such as the computer keyboard, mouse, and the telephone within arm’s reach for workers.
Make sure the height of the monitors is adjustable. Having the monitor at the wrong height may lead to workers adopting poor posture. Workers should be able to raise or lower the monitor so the top of it is at eye level.
Implement desks and chairs that can have their height adjusted; work surfaces can be at comfortable heights for workers, and they don’t end up straining themselves having to constantly lean forward or strain upwards.
Employers wanting to make life more comfortable for office workers at desks may want to look into investing in this standing desk from branch furniture. Being able to stand for a while when working at a standing desk keeps your leg muscles working, increases the blood flow to the brain, and prevents you from developing back pains and poor posture due to providing a break from having your back in the same position all day.
Get in a Selection of Comfortable Ergonomic Office Chairs for the Office
Having good office chairs in the office space will help to promote good posture amongst the workforce.
Here are some key features your ergonomic office chairs should have to best protect workers’ backs:
- Adjustable height
- Adjustable backrests
- Adjustable armrests
- Lumbar support for protecting the lower back
- Be made from comfortable soft materials
- The ability to swivel and rotate
Change the Layout of the Office
One office behaviour that is bad for employees’ back problems is when they don’t move around enough during the working day. There are a few little changes you can make to the office’s layout to make workers move more every day. For example, opening up the space and moving the printer or the photo copier further away from the desks they are working at will change employees’ daily habits at work by making them move about and exercise that little bit more.
Maybe you could even encourage your workers to monitor their daily step count on pedometers to motivate them to move around more during the working day and prevent their backs from getting all stiff and developing aches and pains.
Put Signs Up Around the Office Reminding Employees How to Practice Good Back Posture
Some may think that practicing good back posture is simply a matter of common sense, yet every year many employees in office spaces develop back pains at work.
We suggest putting up clear visible signs around the office with text and diagram images of how to sit in a way that promotes good back posture.
Some tips for adopting good back posture when sitting include:
- Keeping your body relaxed in the chair and not tensing up
- Having your shoulders and back square with the computer screen, no slouching
- Keeping your feet flat on the floor and not crossing your legs
- Keeping your back against the backrest of the chair
- Using a footrest
Take Breaks During the Working Day
Employees should take short breaks throughout the day so they can stretch their legs and move around. Employees should try and stretch their legs and back at least once an hour by walking or performing stretches. Even a short distance walk or a quick stretch can make a big difference and give your neck and back some much-needed rest bite from being in the same position.
Reduce Stress Levels
Practicing breathing exercises or yoga can help to reduce stress or physical tension for people at work suffering from back pain problems.
There are many things that employers in 2021 can do to create ergonomic office spaces and promote employees adopting good posture techniques in the workplace office setting.