During a webinar today, we were discussing the many tools available to help individuals adopt better posture and lead healthier lives in the workplace. Wireless technologies, low battery consumption electronics and designer ingenuity are just three of the factors that enable us to introduce new tools to prompt individuals to change their posture. The Axia Smart Chair is the latest of these products, using a similar design rationale to the Back-Track manual handling device, which can also be used to prompt sedentary workers to move at regular intervals. We have also worked with electrically height-adjustable desks that can be programmed to “wobble” periodically to encourage users to change the desk height and, as a result, their posture.
In the U.S., the approach to better posture is very much about “supplying kit” and I wonder how much of this is due to the “fear of litigation” culture. This creates a need to provide evidence of interventions in order to minimise the risk of Workers’ Compensation claims. By contrast, UK and European thinking is much more focused on the individual and the need to optimise performance through training in combination with improving the work environment.
In a growing number of organisations, wellbeing projects enhance personnel resilience through coaching and education. This is to be lauded and encouraged. There are many excellent tools and devices to enhance workplace ergonomics (I should know – I sell lots of them!). However, products alone are not the answer and it is essential to encourage individuals to take responsibility for their own welfare by creating an environment to aid behaviour change. Make them think!