Office health check

Live Work Explore magazine, February 2011

Download a JPG version of this article

Poor office design can prove detrimental to the health of white collar staff everywhere hut research suggests that repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a particularly rampant issue in the Middle East. Long hours spent hunched over a desk or behind the wheel are just a couple of the culprits and the lack of sufficient regulation is also a substantial contributing factor, says Dr Pamela Leader, medical director at Chiropractic Dubai, a Jumeira clinic specialising in spinal health and ergonomics.

“While some firms, especially those headquartered in Europe or America, have invested in ergonomic office furniture, many others have not and employees may remain unaware of the requirements”. Chiropractic Dubai offers Corporate Wellness consultations to businesses looking to ensure no working hours are lost due to injury, but there are simple steps all desk-bound employees can take on their own, “We always tell office staff to get into the habit of taking regular breaks to walk around,” Leader says. “lt.’s also a good idea to stretch the wrists and neck regularly, while desks should be arranged so that everything is within 16 inches reach.”

Less than optimal desk setups can lead to debilitating conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, postural issues and back pain. Repetitive strain injury can take years to make itself known and once symptoms appear there is often no quick fix, so prevention is key. Pay close attention to any tingling numbness or cramps and take preventive measures promptly – once pain sets in it can be difficult to reverse.

Check list

The Ergonomic workstation:

  • Top of the screen at eye level
  • feet flat on the floor or footrest
  • Ears in line with the shoulders
  • Shoulders relaxed
  • Forearms horizontal and relaxed
  • Balanced wrist position
  • Adjustable backrest
  • Adjustable chair height