October 25, 2019
There’s a world outside.
Some people like to say that you are what you eat, but considering that lions aren’t gazelles, perhaps we’d be better off trying to solve our existential questions by looking at what we do with our lives instead.
I’m not saying that you are what you do, but these scientists suggest that if you spend most of your time contorted in a pretty disgusting position, you’ll turn into a pretty disgusting creature.
She’s got a hunched back, swollen limbs and bloodshot eyes — and in twenty years, you’ll be just like her if you don’t improve your working conditions, experts warn.
‘Emma’ — the sickly work colleague of the future — is a life-sized dummy built to show how sitting all day at ergonomically-unfriendly desk might affect workers.
This cautionary vision was cooked up by researchers after interviews with more than 3,000 employees about their health issues and concerns.
The team call for radical changes to the way we work — including more ergonomic office future and breaks to get staff off of their seats and moving about.
This is what a feminist looks like:
Strong, empowered, and independent.
That’s quite a disgusting sight.
Here’s a lion cub to wash your eyes with:
Offices should be mandated by law to offer standing desks.
Behavioural Futurist William Higham and a team of experts from the fields of ergonomics, occupational health and professional well-being set out to investigate the effects that office workplaces are having on employee health.
Based on surveys of more than 3,000 workers in France, Germany and the UK, the team predicted how offices might change the human body over the next 20 years.
From their findings, which were commissioned by office equipment firm Fellowes, the researchers teamed up with model specialists Helix 3D Ltd to create ‘Emma’ — a disturbingly distorted life-sized mannequin to illustrate the potential impact of modern workstations on our bodies.
Poor Emma has a permanently hunched posture sitting for hours every day over her desk, dry red eyes from prolonged exposure to a computer screen and sallow skin for spending years trapped under the glare of artificial light.
‘The Work Colleague of the Future report shows that employers and workers really need to act now and address the problem of poor workplace health,’ said Mr Higham.
‘Unless we make radical changes to our working lives, such as moving more, addressing our posture at our desks, taking regular walking breaks or considering improving our workstation setup, our offices are going to make us very sick.’
‘As a result, workers in the future could suffer health problems as bad as those we thought we’d left behind in the Industrial Revolution.’
The researchers found that office workers spend an average of six hours sitting at a desk each day.
They may spend an average of six hours sitting at a desk each day, but what about sitting on a couch?
More than 90 per cent of those surveyed reported being concerned that this was too much time — and 98 per cent fearing such could lead to future health problems.
In the UK, the team found that 90 per cent of office workers reported experiencing health issues that reduced their productivity and almost half suffer from eye strain, sore backs and headaches caused by their workspace.
Work-related sick days cost the economy £77 billion every year.
Furthermore, seven out of ten workers reported turning to medications to combat these problems.
Yeah, it’s not enough to show that the working conditions deform and harm the human body — you have to show that the economy is hurt too!
‘Over time, sitting at a desk all day is going to have profound effect on office workers’ health, both physically and psychologically,’ said ergonomics expert and report contributor Stephen Bowden.
‘Steps should be taken to ensure normal everyday movements become part of the job. One way to get people moving and reducing the time they sit for is consider more ergonomic furniture in the workplace, such as sit stand desks.’
These, he added, can help to prevent workers from developing long-term health conditions.
Working conditions may be horrible, but at least you’re in control of the rest of your day.
Taking a walk, playing a sport, exercising, and even just spending time standing are all things that will help you escape poor Emma’s fate.