September 6, 2015 Guest Post
To put it bluntly- we’ve all become slaves to our cubicles. And in addition to everything else, this lifelong relationship with the work desk has managed to take away any will we may have had left to hit the gym or at least pay some attention to fitness. What we don’t realize is that, in addition to giving us a pot belly, being glued to our chairs could also be proving absolutely lethal for our backs.
We’ve finally reached a point where fitness begins at work. And employers in top companies around the world have now started to sit up and take notice. Spine trouble is, after all, a grave issue. If you’re looking to offer your workplace some respite from that treacherous backache, we give you five things you should first have in place to pull it off.
We mean the right chairs. You’ll be surprised at how at least seven out of ten offices have chairs that give rise to awkward sitting positions, which in turn gives rise to a host of back, hip and shoulder problems. The chair should allow the shoulders to be relaxed, the backseat should ensure the back remains upright and offer complete support to the lumbar curve. The chair should also provide adequate head support. At the same time, it shouldn’t be so hard that one feels like they’re sitting on a park bench, or so soft that a person just sinks into the seat.
If you’re buying the same set of chairs for the whole office, without taking into consideration the individual body types of employees, always keep a bundle of cushions in varied sizes close at hand. Cushions help to adjust the perfect height as well as provide that additional support to the back. Moreover, cushions ensure that the person sitting on the chair doesn’t slide down during downtime or take up any awkward position. It’s ideal- especially for those with lower back problems.
•The perfectly-positioned machinery
A lot of thought needs to go into deciding the right placement of machines, be it computers, printer and coffee-machine or the air-conditioners. When it comes to the computers, the keyboard should be placed such that the arms, wrists and hands are collinear. The mouse should be at the same level as the keyboard, and of course it shouldn’t be so far from the keyboard that you actually have to stretch! The distance should between the screen and the chair should be optimum. For the air-conditioners, make sure it isn’t directly overhead or right behind the person’s back. Make sure there’s enough distance between the desks, the water-cooler/ coffee-vending machine/printer and toilets; this way people at least get off their seats and do some much-needed movement.
A Mount Kilimanjaro of workload is going to be the perpetual state at work. This doesn’t mean that the health of the spine should be sacrificed on the altar of efficiency. Instead, it is being glued to the chair that affects efficiency, since eventually the person is going to get constantly distracted by backache. We believe that every workplace, even a modular office, should have a timeout area an open space, devoid of furniture, except for a few shelves and some yoga mats- where everyone just stops their work for about five minutes and stretches, takes a walk, meditates, just anything that gives that back some much-needed rest.
While we understand the need to have as many people employed as possible to maximize output, we’re not in a time where any more space can be sacrificed. There has to be enough leg-space and space to stretch the hands and feet. Sitting in a cramped space can do a number on the whole body, while putting extra strain on the neck, shoulders and spine.
The employees are the backbone of any organization. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that their well-being is well in place. Luckily, for you, the changes are pretty basic, yet absolutely effective.
Leslie Kramer, the author of this post, is a freelance blogger, who is currently writing for BGC Modular, one of the leading suppliers of transportable buildings. Leslie plays lawn tennis in her free time and likes to hare her creative ideas on home improvement through blogging.