Workplaces that are incorrectly set up can cause illness as well as cost businesses billions in sick pay.
That is according to a study by ergonomics specialist Fellowes, which showed that poorly arranged desks and chairs are the main cause of health problems such as back pain, headaches and depression.
What is more, not only can this cause a loss in productivity due to employees taking time off work to recuperate, bit it can also cost companies more than £7 billion a year in sick pay.
Results from the study also found that nearly three-quarters of office workers say their workplace makes them ill and affects their home life. In addition, almost two-thirds have to take medication to help them manage their condition, the Daily Mail reports.
Not only can these health problems impact job-related tasks, but they also impinge on the personal lives of employees – more than 11 per cent of those surveyed have had to give up sport and hobbies such as gardening because they are no longer fit enough to carry them out.
Louise Shipley of Fellowes, said: “Most of us spend a great deal of time at our desks so we need to think harder about the conditions we’re working in and invest in protecting our health and ultimately, our quality of life.
“This means that employers have a responsibility to their staff members and that includes making sure they can work safely and productively,” she added.
When it comes to shared office spaces, investing in the right kind of supportive, ergonomic accessories and workspace assessments should be a strict part of a process to ensure a more engaged and healthy workforce.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP, agrees. She said that the impact of the working environment on office workers’ health is all too often overlooked by employers.
However, what is very clear from the research is that the way employees work and the equipment used by them has a major impact – not only on workplace health, but on wider health also.