November 2021: Protecting, Supporting and Empowering Employees To Flourish In The New Normal

While employers continue implementing and adapting Return To Office projects, most are moving to critical projects of mitigating significant risk exposures facing their computer-using employees working in both traditional offices and home-based offices. 

Knowledge Worker Safety & Productivity Challenges Today

In particular, employers are laser-focused on addressing priority exposure areas which are challenging their computer-using employees including:

The Scope of the Challenge 

Clients say it’s straightforward to understand the challenges facing remote knowledge workers as they’re working in home environments where you cannot control many things.

We’re seeing more employers focused on a more subtle yet equally important side of that risk recognition, which concerns all of the employees who have been remotely working and developing unhealthy habits for more than a year and a half now.  When finally returning to traditional offices, they’re certainly not going to shed those unhealthy behaviors without personalized support and reconditioning.

Further, significant studies have shown that remote employees have reported widespread weight gain and muscle loss due to increased sedentary behaviors.  Returning to concentrated days at traditional offices will certainly have these employees more susceptible to musculoskeletal injuries.

These insights provide clear advantages to employers focused on their Employee Value Proposition, comfortable and satisfied employees and productivity.

The Third Front 

There is new information published regarding yet a third front of challenges facing sedentary knowledge workers which is the widely understood and well-studied deleterious effects of static postures on our bodies.

Following our review of a long series of major medical studies on the serious consequences of sitting all day, an article recently caught the eye of your intrepid author:  “Move for three minutes every half hour to counteract effects of sitting” which reports on a study published in August 2021 in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The study, conducted by an international consortium of scientists led by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, found that those who took active three-minute breaks every half an hour, displayed signs of better metabolic health such as lower fasting blood sugar levels, a stabilized sugar levels and the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol also rose in their bloodstreams. 

This is of particular concern as it’s been well-established how employees working in poor ergonomic conditions with discomfort are much higher consumers of healthcare services and have higher incidence of musculoskeletal disorders.

The study looked at obese people which accounted “pre-pandemic” for 39% of adults aged 18 years or older according to the World Health Organization. 

Based on current incidence rates, it’s reasonable to acknowledge that at least one in every three of your employees are considered obese by current scientific measures.  That is different from another level above “obese” which is “morbidly obese”.

A Decisive Factor Is Time 

Clients unanimously agree that time is a huge factor in both musculoskeletal disorders and knowledge worker discomfort.  

Every single day that ergonomic conditions are permitted to remain below Best Practices and standards (or worse yet, unknown) leads to significantly increased future intervention costs, higher injury incidence and rates, reduced employee satisfaction and morale, and reduced productivity.

So how can employers effectively and inexpensively mitigate significant risks facing their computer-using employees?

Effective Strategies Employers Are Using Today 

We’re hearing strong feedback consistently from clients around the globe who are utilizing ErgoSuite as a plug-in-play, rapid-deployment and sustainable solution to address priority focus areas for their office and home-based office employees.

At the high-level view, clients are leveraging their ErgoSuite platform as their front-line surface area for employees and centralized EH&S management toolset for identifying status and trends and managing outlying situations:

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