Work environment getting you down?

Where would you rather work – a dingy, dull office with little natural light, a work station that is crammed into a corner, with an old, clunky keyboard, little contact with colleagues and nowhere to go for a break? Or … imagine your dream office or work environment – an open organised office floor plan, overlooking a river, with a properly organised work station, an ergonomic chair, keyboard and screen, a ‘chill-out room’ for breaks, free workplace 10 minute massage on Fridays … Dream on!

work environment

Seriously, there is a proven difference in employee performance depending on how satisfied we are with our work environment – satisfied people give more, work harder for longer and are happier in their work – all for a smallish investment in their work environment. Anyone who crouches in cramped positions at work will eventually get a bad back. Look at Quasimodo – if he hasn’t spent all day, every day hunched over a computer I don’t know who has! Take regular breaks or stretch out frequently if you’re doing repetitive movements or sitting or standing still for long periods.

When the natural curves of your spine are preserved, there is less compression of your intervertebral discs and less strain on your back ligaments. And it’s not just the position of your back you should think of. When all your other joints are well positioned then the strain on your back ligaments and tendons is minimal.

Poor posture
Sitting can cause your pelvis to rotate backwards, causing your lumbar spine to bend with it. This then compresses your intervertebral discs and the cartilage between. Raising your arms in front of your body (for instance, typing on a keyboard) or lifting objects while sitting in this position increases the pressure even more. The damage is worse if the muscles around your spine holding you in position become tired.

Being overweight or obese will pull your spine into an unnatural position that makes it more susceptible to wear and tear and may perpetuate your back pain.

Good employers take their duty of care, enshrined in European Health and Safety legislation seriously. They do workplace assessments before employees get repetitive strain, they encourage people working at PCs to take a 10 minute break every hour and pay for eye tests every year. They go even further … they provide ‘healthy working practices’ in the form of advice and active guidance and yes, they pay for workplace massages! They conduct job/workplace satisfaction surveys and take regular action in response to feedback. They enable people to personalise their workspaces (within sensible limits), provide real, tended plants and do stress risk assessments to identify sources of excessive pressures at work. They have regular workplace meetings for employees to discuss and resolve concerns about their workplace. Where would you rather work?


Extracted from The Corporate Wellness Bible by Kate Cook ( To discuss how your business can benefit from The Corporate Wellness Bible, including how you can order bespoke versions for your company, please email or call David Grant on 01865 514 888.

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