This Backcare Awareness Week (5-9 Oct) we're asking: how do you protect your back health when you have little choice but to use a computer all day?
Humans aren't built to be sedentary, and yet many of us are - often out of necessity rather than choice due to the fact that many jobs are now computer-based. According to research, lower back pain causes more global disability than any other condition, making it imperative for us to tackle.
1. Don't wait until it's too late
Most people only start thinking about back care once they've started experiencing some kind of back pain or discomfort. We urge our clients to think about back care at work from the offset - starting on an employee's very first day. The cost of the ergonomic products themselves are minute compared to the cost of absenteeism and lost productivity caused by musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
While well-designed equipment can ease existing pain and discomfort, it's much more cost-effective as a prevention tool.
2. Get a sit-stand desk
Hop aboard the trend wagon and join the masses of offices now investing in sit-stand desks. Although they're booming in popularity right now, we can assure you they're not just a health fad.
We've been selling sit-stand desks since 1994 and we've had nothing but positive reports ever since. Not only that, but our own staff have been using DeskRite 500 electric sit-stand desks happily for years.
Sit-stand desks are an excellent back pain prevention tool because they encourage you to keep moving. With a good active working strategy in place (involving plenty of educational materials to keep staff using their desks), sit-stand desks can help prevent back pain.
A lot of the time, back pain comes from sitting for long periods of time in the same unhealthy posture. If you're getting up every 20 - 40 minutes to stand at your desk, then you're less likely to spend too long in one poor posture.
3. Have a DSE assessment
Our remote DSE assessments will highlight any potential problem areas and offer recommendations 100% remotely, which is ideal for homeworkers. Our qualified assessors will also provide the solutions to reduce the risk of MSDs developing as a result of the workstation.
Your employees will be set up correctly to reduce the risk of back pain wherever they're located. If there are any problems that can only be rectified with equipment (such as a screen that's too low), then we will advise you on the best product to go for.
4. Get a decent ergonomic chair
A 'decent' ergonomic chair comes with a range of adjustable components so it's easier to find the perfect sitting position for you. If you're working at home now, check out our recommendations for the best ergonomic homeworking chairs.
5. Learn about active sitting
Recent studies revealing the dangers of sitting down all day make chairs out to be the villain - but with active sitting this doesn't have to be the case.
Some ergonomic office chairs, like the the HÅG H05, have in-built mechanisms which means the chair moves naturally with the sitter, stimulating oxygen and blood-flow through the body, and helping to keep users alert and energised during meetings and long days.
6. Move around every hour
Set an alarm for each hour of the working day. This will remind you to get up and walk about even when you're immersed in work. Go to the toilet, the water cooler, or simply do a loop of your office/home for a couple of minutes. It'll give you the oxygen boost you need and get you out of poor postures.
7. Go for a walk at lunch
Remember - your lunch break is yours. Use it to squeeze in some extra physical activity, like a brisk walk, a cycle ride or even some yoga to stretch out your back and loosen up tight muscles.
8. Practice desk stretches
If you're at the office you might attract funny glances, but your back will thank you for it. Try using the following advice sheets to help you:
- Stretches for fingers, wrists and forearms
- Neck and shoulder exercises
- Back exercises
- Leg and ankle exercises
It doesn't take much to hurt your back, and the results can be devastating. Take these simple precautions in your organisation to reduce the risk - and not only will you save costs, you could help prevent injuries.