The problem with office seating often starts with the fact that most people don’t realise how little they know about their posture. “I don’t need to be told. I’ve been sitting all my life” is the prevailing attitude.
Recent publicity about the BBC’s move to Salford summed it up. The poor old Beeb is always on a hiding-to-nothing with this sort of story but a perfectly sensible (and employer’s legal obligation) plan to ensure that personnel have the right chair and know how to use it was met with this brilliantly ill-informed comment from John Whittingdale, the Conservative chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee: “This is the kind of thing that risks making the BBC a laughing stock. I think most people would feel capable of deciding how to adjust their chair without professional advice from an employee of the BBC”.
Even more laughable was the comment from Karen Garrido, leader of the Conservative group on Salford council. She said: “I can’t believe we need to teach people how to sit on their chairs. They aren’t children”.
These are two classic cases of the old politician’s adage “Don’t let ignorance stand in the way of a good soundbite”.
Coupling good chairs with well-trained users will help to minimise musculo-skeletal issues, aid breathing, improve wellbeing and enhance productivity. We have provided thousands of chairs to individuals whose problems have been brought on by poor posture and the many physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths we talk to have countless stories about avoidable pain and discomfort.
The simple truth is that most of us lead very sedentary lives these days and too few of us think about our posture, our chair and how it’s set up.