March 18, 2013
Two-thirds of office workers sit at their desk for over six hours a day – putting themselves at risk of back complaints. A survey by Office Angels found that 63 per cent of workers spend six hours or more sitting at their desk, over half (51 per cent) slouch in their chair and nearly half (48 per cent) admit to not leaving the office all day. A fifth (21 per cent) of people also admitted to taking their work home with them and a third (32 per cent) work late on a regular basis. The study ‘Work happy, Work well”, which looks at the nation’s wellbeing and bad habits in the workplace reveals that sales, media and marketing (60 per cent) and finance (54 per cent) are the sectors with the highest number of desk bound workers.
Dr Sabarini, of the renowned spinal clinic Avicenna, in Berlin, said: “Sitting at your desk for hours on end can lead to very serious back complaints. It can lead to muscles weakening, pressure on the smaller joints, and a decrease in blood supply to the bones. The discs in the spine receive their nutrition from blood and oxygen – if they don’t receive this, the discs can degenerate. This ‘wear and tear’ can be very painful.
“To avoid this, office workers need to change their posture from time to time, and employers need to pay attention that the tables, chairs etc are suitable for the height and shape of their employees. I advise people to sit at their desk for no longer than an hour, after which a short 5 minute walk or break is needed.
“If serious problems result, workers should consult a doctor. Muscle Functional Diagnosis may be required, or even Own Disc Cells transplantation which renew the disc tissue. So, obviously prevention is better than cure. Both employers and employees need to pay attention to long periods at a desk – which could result in very serious back complaints”.
The research also found:
- Two thirds (66 per cent) of people eat their lunch at their desk;
- 90 per cent of those in the legal profession are guilty of eating their lunch at their desk, making them the hardest working sector;
- Half of people (50 per cent) continue to come into work even when they are feeling unwell;
- A fifth (21 per cent) of workers admit they email the person sitting next to them.
Steven Kirkpatrick, Managing Director of Office Angels said: “Many workers feel pressurised in today’s workplace and as a result work longer hours and spend more time at their desk in an attempt to prove their worth. As a result, workers are sacrificing their happiness, health and overall wellbeing.
“Organisations must now take action to create a working environment which fosters a sense of wellbeing. Office workers need to take regular breaks, stretch their legs, and eat away from their desk if work demands allow. Failure to do so may result in an unhappy, over-worked and dissatisfied workforce, which in turn may result in a loss of productivity.”
by Sara Bean