"Previously here on Corporate Wellness Magazine, we discussed how prolonged sitting can lead to various health conditions. The immediate effects of this include weight gain and high blood pressure, which are risk factors that contribute to chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Not to mention that it also leads to back, neck, and shoulder pain.
Since many corporate careers involve desk jobs, this should be a chief concern. Maryville University states that chronic conditions may affect about 164 million Americans by 2025. Pair this with the fact that the country is also facing a looming shortage of healthcare workers, and you will see that the demand for and costs of healthcare are only set to rise. This, in turn, will affect corporations that provide health insurance benefits to their employees. It's also worth considering the very real effect that chronic diseases and unhealthy habits have among employees that will impact their work performance, productivity, and wellness.
Fortunately, employers can help prevent their staff from developing chronic conditions by addressing these issues. One way to do this is to set up a healthy workstation for the company's employees. Consider these practices that will help create a healthier and more ergonomic workspace:
Invest in Adjustable Chairs and Desks
Prolonged sitting can contribute to chronic back problems, especially if workers are sitting incorrectly at their desks. For instance, a low desk may be the reason for a person's neck pain and over time, bad posture can affect the muscles and joints. One way companies can prevent this is by providing adjustable chairs and desks. These would encourage employees to adopt a better, more natural posture while working. Not all workers are the same size, after all, and thus will need a specific chair and desk heights for them to work comfortably. You also have the option to invest in sit & stand desks that can encourage employees to work while standing up.
Review Monitor Height
Monitor height is another aspect of office ergonomics employers should consider. Adjustable desks and chairs are fine, but small monitors may cause workers to lean forward or gaze downwards, both of which negatively affects posture. The ideal monitor height should allow a worker to have a downward viewing gaze that's perpendicular to the surface of the monitor. If your company supplies laptops, consider providing laptop stands in order to address monitor height issues.
Consider Human-Centric Lighting
Lighting also has a hand in an employee's well-being and productivity. Health tech writer Lee Bell wrote about how human-centric lighting systems have helped office workers perform better. The lighting works in a way that supports the circadian rhythms of the staff, providing different light settings at various times of the day. The report detailed that this lighting stimulates employees' energy levels while also enhancing their comfort. Employers can also invest in desk lamps for each workstation. Research shows that dim lighting in the office not only causes eye strain and headaches but also drowsiness, therefore affecting work efficiency. Companies should evaluate their lighting designs and determine whether overhead lighting is enough for workers. If not, desk lamps could help fill the gap. With desk lamps, people have the choice to create their own bright environments. However, natural daylight is still the best option. If possible, companies should always ensure their employees' working environment is well lit.
Provide Fitness Trackers
Creating a healthy workstation should not necessarily be limited to the ergonomics of a particular space. It should also be about getting workers to move more, thus the concept of providing fitness trackers. Handing out these devices can be a component of a company's wellness program. HR Technologist reported that 35% of employers already use wearables to monitor health for their benefits plans. Much of an employee's wellness depends on their own initiative, thus companies can use incentives to encourage workers to adopt healthier practices. For instance, a certain number of steps a day can result in a discount on a person's health insurance premiums. Company authorities can set an example by following these practices themselves and further convince employees to do the same."