Here is the news...good and bad! By Ian Fletcher-Price, CEO, Posturite Ltd

Ian Fletcher-PriceSome good news and some bad news. First the good news. The average number of sick days taken last year by UK workers dropped to its lowest level since records began in 1993, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The bad news is that musculoskeletal disorders still account for the most working days lost – 34.4 million out of a total in 2011 of 131 million, or almost one quarter.

That’s an awful lot of productivity down the drain that, with a bit of forethought and modest investment, might have been avoided. Companies all too often wait until it’s too late before providing their office-based employees with the ergonomic furniture and accessories that can help prevent musculoskeletal problems occurring.

Fortunately an increasing number of more enlightened organisations are now recognising that it makes good business and financial sense to ensure proactively that their employees are, as far as possible, safeguarded against conditions commonly associated with bad sitting posture.

For example, more than 760 staff in the London offices of XL Insurance are now sitting pretty after the company provided them all with new RH Logic 400 chairs which we supplied and installed.

A sound, ergonomic  chair and correct workstation set-up can certainly help improve the chances of office workers avoiding musculoskeletal problems. But unless they stand up and move around regularly throughout the day, they could easily face other health issues.

So I was particularly alarmed to read the results of another survey last month which found that three out of four young office workers are failing to take a lunch break, choosing instead to have a snack at their desk.

There’s already plenty of research to show a correlation between too much time spent sitting and the threat of developing deep vein thrombosis.

Now a new survey of 400 workers in New Zealand has revealed a 2.2 fold increase in blood clots among those who usually eat lunch seated at their desk.

Dr Richard Beasley, director of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, who carried out the tests, warned: “People know that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in later life.

“However, very few are aware of the fact prolonged immobility in the workplace also poses an immediate threat. People must be educated regarding the risks associated with sitting down for long periods.”

And so say all of us....!