Consider this scenario. You start suffering from mild neck pain. You ignore it initially, but when it wouldn’t go away, you consulted a doctor. The prognosis is obvious – bad working posture. Sounds familiar, right?
We’re the lazy generation. We drive to work, we don’t do much physical labour, we have help at home, we sit all day long and we wonder why we’re not as fit as our parents used to be.
By the time you are 21-22 and you start working, you are already part of the average adult populace that doesn’t stand a chance against workplace fatigue. That is unless you are aware of the pitfalls of a sedentary lifestyle.
Do you know that on average we working adults spend almost 70% of our day hours just sitting? A study that says sitting for more than 6 hours at a stretch is the same as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day! Who would’ve thought sitting down can be so dangerous!
Our deskbound jobs are creating a generation of workers who suffer from chronic neck and back pain, stiff shoulder joints, wrist aches and painful knees. All of which are a result of bad working posture.
The brunt of this health issue is borne by the worker, but employers too have to pay the price, either through healthcare reimbursement or in time lost through sick leaves.
What can we do to stop this epidemic from spreading any further?
Employers and employees can work together to combat workplace fatigue.
Employees can follow this simple 10-point checklist:
- Support your arms when you work at the desk to prevent neck and shoulder pain.
- Keep your head aligned with its base. Don’t stick your head and neck forward.
- Sit straight. Make sure your back is fully supported by the chair. Don’t sit on the edge and keep the chair as close to the desk as possible.
- Make sure your feet are comfortably placed on the floor and not dangling in the air. Adjust the seat if you feel any pressure.
- The laptop or computer monitor should be at eye level. Your keyboard should be right in front of the screen.
- Do not jam the phone receiver between your neck and ear while talking. If it’s a mobile, get up and walk the talk.
- Keep the keyboard and mouse at a comfortable distance from you.
- Your monitor should be at least an arm’s length away. Too close puts a strain on your eyes.
- Control monitor brightness and make sure you don’t place it in front of a window or a bright screen.
- Every 15-20 minutes give your eyes a break for a few seconds by staring at an object at a distance.
As an employer, you can help your people meet their health goals by:
- Having more standing meetings than sitting.
- Investing in ergonomic chairs and desks.
- Ensuring the right lighting and monitor placement.
- Providing a comfortable temperature to work in.
- For those required to talk on the phone for a long time, a headset should be provided
These simple and yet obvious ways are a sure way to reduce the possibility of workplace fatigue. Implement, enforce and benefit.