Do you work in an office? Spend most of your day sitting in one of those standard office chairs? Does it have arm support? Lumbar support? Headrest?
Well, if you have all of the above, then you’re probably well up the food chain, in terms of the career ladder. Your seating is soft leather and you have a whole office all to yourself. With a nice view and loads of natural daylight. And if you have issues with your back, they’re more likely related to your activities on the golf course than to your work environment. Nonetheless, please read on, ‘cause this appeal is for you, The Boss, although it is of greater immediate concern to those workers you may control…
Any office worker is familiar with the bog-standard ”typists” chair. A primitive structure, without arm support, a seat that feels like it’ll break at any moment, and back support that already did. The idea being that a typist is female and petite and will sit upright and rigid for the eight-hour shift. Not moving left, not moving right, other than the occasional swivel to change the dictaphone tape.
Typists are probably few and far between nowadays, and the basic office chair has evolved some over the years, but back pain, as they say, hasn’t gone away, you know. And those old-style chairs can today still be found in many of the less frequently visited corners of the office, like server rooms, storage areas, canteens, and basements.
If you’re a sufferer, there are a great many sources of information on the web about prevention and cure, just search for “Back pain in the workplace”. Everything from your seated posture, taking breaks, exercise, and who to call when your spine locks up. But take it seriously and if you feel your seating is inappropriate – if you got stuck with a chair with a dodgy wheel or broken lumbar pad – ask the Boss to get it sorted. Or share this column with him or her.
And if you’re the Boss, then please have a look around and put a little thought into whether even the least of your workers are getting this fundamental tool for the job. And either repair or get rid of any old and broken seating – if only to show you care!