Life can be tough on your body. It’s no surprise that musculoskeletal conditions like back, neck and muscle problems cause more prolonged work absences than any others*.
Yet busy working people can often put off going to see a doctor about their conditions until it starts to impact their daily lives. That’s understandable when you’ve got lots to do, and aren’t able to take time out of your day for arranging appointments and visiting a GP.
What’s the impact of back problems on your business?
According to AXA PPP healthcare’s recent Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) survey, a quarter of SMEs say back pain is 2nd most common reason for absenteeism and 42% of SME have had employees come to work with back pain, which resulted in reduced productivity and low morale.
Yet almost three quarters of SMEs believe training employees in prevention and treatment of back pain would be beneficial to their business and over half of SME’s would be interested in paying to provide technology to improve employees’ posture. So what simple steps can you take to reduce the impact of back problems on your business?
Five tips to get started
Here are five simple steps to help improve you and your team’s posture and keep your back in good health:
• Get the right support
Avoid back pain by adjusting your chair so that your lower back is properly supported. Ensure that your knees are level with your hips, using a foot rest if necessary. The basic rule is to plant your feet firmly on the floor to support your back. Don't cross your legs, as this can cut off circulation and cause hip problems.
• Adjust your chair
A correctly adjusted chair will reduce the strain on your back. Make sure you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. Your elbows should be by the side of your body, so that the arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint.
• Maintain eye level
If you use a computer screen for work then it should be directly in front of you, with your monitor about an arm’s length away and the top of the screen at eye level so you don’t strain your eyes.
• Keep your keyboard close
Your keyboard needs to be immediately in front of you with a gap of between four to six inches (100mm-150mm) at the front of the desk to rest your wrists between when not physically typing. Your wrists should be straight when using a keyboard, with your elbows vertical under your shoulder and right by your side.
• Avoid phone strain
Consider using a headset if you spend a lot of time using the phone for work, as cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder can strain the muscles in your neck.