According to a recent survey, workers are sitting 20 per cent more than they did pre-pandemic, 9 out of 10 are experiencing real health problems, and the number of workers sitting for more than 8 hours a day has increased nearly 90 per cent.
The survey was conducted by Herman Miller. Of the 1,000 office workers (who are working from home) surveyed, nearly 90 per cent of them reported experiencing pain or ailments such as a stiff neck (39.4 per cent), back pain (53.13 per cent), difficulty sleeping (44.28 per cent), sore arms (34.53 per cent), sore legs (33.83 per cent), and headaches or eye strain (27.26 per cent) since the beginning of the pandemic.
Wellness has always been a prominent New Year's focus, featuring a plethora of new gym memberships, diet plans, and better bedtimes. But after a year that altered every facet of normal life, it's no surprise to see massive shifts.
"Diet, exercise, drinking enough water -- all of those are key if you want to impact your health. But you can't stop there. For total wellness, we need to think about how and where we sit just as much. Now after experiencing work away from their ergonomically equipped offices, people are starting to finally believe it," says Debbie Propst, President of Herman Miller Group Retail.
"Statistically speaking, those are some shocking numbers. Anecdotally, we heard of lots of issues from our own employees and worked to provide them ways to get proper office furniture for their homes. To better help other companies and individuals, we needed to understand the impact the migration from office to work-from-home had on workers. What we found was people are inside more, sitting longer than they ever have, and don't have the right equipment to perform their best or quite frankly; stay healthy."
While people certainly knew the difference between a dining chair and an office chair prior to the pandemic, they underestimated the value of ergonomic office furniture. More than half responded they are not working in a home office space but instead are typically working from the kitchen or dining room table, couch, bed, and/or car. "At the start of the pandemic, people were happy sitting anywhere," adds Propst. "But as days turned to weeks and weeks to months, people really began to feel unhealthy and recognize the need for ergonomic solutions."
The research found that nearly 8 out of 10 office workers who are now working from home believe having a better home office setup would help them to be more productive while 95 per cent agreed they need improvements (such as an ergonomically designed chair, an extra monitor, or a height adjustable desk) to feel more comfortable and healthy working from home.
The survey found that over 40 per cent rank an ergonomically designed office chair at the top of their wish list.