Millions of office workers have suffered an injury as a result of their job, poll claims

Back ache, knee pain and RPS are among most common problems

Rebecca Stamp
Monday 09 December 2019 17:39 GMT
A majority of employees want offices to be a part of their working pattern after lockdown.
A majority of employees want offices to be a part of their working pattern after lockdown.

Millions of office workers have suffered an injury as a result of their job, according to new research.

A study of 2,000 UK professionals found 78 per cent of workers have been troubled with backache, knee pain and even repetitive strain injuries due to their role.

Nearly half have experienced lower back pain, while a fifth have endured tingling or numbness in their fingers or hands.

But while a quarter reckon injury prevention is already a priority within their current workplace, three-fifths said more needs to be done to avoid work-related ailments.

It also emerged more than a quarter believe aches, pains and injuries only affect professionals with more physical jobs, such as builders.

Kirsty Angerer, The Travelling Ergonomist expert for Contour, which commissioned the study, said: “Contrary to popular opinion, it is not just those who work in jobs requiring physical activity - or in workplaces with obvious risk hazards - that are regularly affected by office injuries.

“Our research has found the average office worker is at just as much risk of experiencing pain, with issues such as repetitive strain injury being exacerbated by poor working postures and a lack of variation in the working day being on the rise.

“Office workers will want to take preventative measures to ensure this doesn’t affect them.

"I believe that there is an inherent opportunity to enhance people’s performance.

"Rather than just surviving the work day, it’s about how we encourage people to thrive.”

The study also found a fifth had no idea their desk set-up could impact upon their health in the long-term.

Just under four in 10 know how high their monitor should be to prevent injury, and a third were unaware of how to sit to maintain good posture.

More than half are sitting at their desk in ways which could be bad for their health, including having their legs crossed, tucking their feet beneath them and having their legs outstretched.

Some workers are even taking pain killers to try and prevent pain, while others are seeking professional medical help or investing in a standing workstation.

Others are opting for more unconventional methods such as drinking herbal tea, doing stretches in the office or taking health supplements.

It also emerged the average hard-working adult will sit down for as long as three hours at a time, standing for a total of just 28 minutes during their working day.

Despite not being clear on the causes of their pain, nearly eight in 10 believe it can have a negative impact on their mood.

More than a third said their pain has affected their sleep, while three in 10 admitted being in physical discomfort led them to snap at their partner.

A fifth have been irritable with colleagues, with one in seven taking out frustrations from their pain on friends.

And one in 10 have even been left unable to play with their children.

Consequently, almost four in 10 have either changed jobs or considered changing jobs - a major life decision - based solely on the factor of physical pain.

It also emerged three in four will spend nine days a month working from somewhere other than their desk.

Trains, cafes and even a park bench are among some of the places hard-working adults are picking up emails from, as well as libraries, hotel lobbies and at home.

As a result, two-thirds of those polled, via OnePoll, reckon these unusual working spots are having a detrimental impact on their physical health.

Ms Angerer added: “Office workers can make some simple changes to their working day.

"Adjust your chair, desk and computer so you can adopt a healthy neutral posture.

"Additionally, make sure you take breaks from sitting at your desk; regular movement is as important for your health as using the right computing tools.”


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