Posturite has been designing, manufacturing and distributing posture-improving products for the home and workplace for more than 25 years. Desk jobs have proven to take their toll on the body and this business aims to tackle this issue: putting posture right…

DeskRite_StandingPosturite, based in Berwick, East Sussex, offers a comprehensive range of posture-friendly products to clients across the public and private sector, covering all the key areas of the workplace. We at SBT headquarters have discovered for ourselves the benefits of sit-stand desks, which are popular abroad and starting to win fans over here also. Using the Varidesk Pro 30 from Posturite, our in house design team have been alternating between sitting and standing – proven to improve comfort, circulation, concentration and productivity. The human body certainly wasn’t designed to sit for long periods!

We wanted to find out more about the physical health-protecting and innovative products that Posturite offer, so we spoke to the CEO of Posturite, Ian Fletcher-Price.

What is ‘ergonomics’ exactly?

“Ergonomics is all about designing products that are not just fit for purpose, but also fit for the individuals using them. That’s the difference between a chair with a seat and a back, and a chair with a seat and a back that can be adjusted according to the height, shape and specific needs of the user. Ergonomics is a science. It takes into account all factors – social, environmental, physiological, all to create a better experience for the user.”

Have work related, bad posture influenced injuries been on the rise in recent times?

“The human body evolved over millions of years to move – we built endurance, athleticism and strength in order to survive. But with predators rather thin on the ground and food coming in handy packages these days, there are fewer and fewer natural reasons to move. Now the average person spends 60% of their day sitting still. Yes – computers are having a massive impact on this. We no longer have to get up to speak to our colleagues. Modern life is increasingly sedentary and this is undoubtedly causing a rise in musculoskeletal disorders (known as MSDs).”

What are some of the most common problems that arise?

“In 2014 the most cited reason for taking sick leave in the UK was back, neck and muscle pain. If you sit slumped at your desk with bad posture you are at high risk of developing an MSD. Likewise, there are hazards associated with computer mouse use. The repetition of clicking and typing in one position all day places strain on the small muscles in your hands, which can lead to more serious problems including repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome. Sitting all day is also incredibly unhealthy. Researchers have linked sitting for more than six hours a day to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and rather alarmingly, reduced life expectancy. That’s why we always recommend sit-stand desks – it’s such a small investment to make for the improved health, loyalty and productivity of your employees.”

Should it be an employer’s duty to ensure their staff are well looked after in terms of their physical health?

“It is an employer’s legal responsibility to assess risks in the workplace and put appropriate measures in place to protect employees. Some businesses do the bare minimum; others take the physical health of their staff more seriously. In fact there has been something of a revolution in recent years. Companies such as Google and Facebook are well known for offering perks like free massages and free healthy food 24/7. They insist it pays off to keep staff healthy. Considering they’re two of the biggest earners in business and consistently voted best places to work for, I’d be inclined to agree.”

What does Posturite do to combat these issues?

“Everything we do is geared towards creating healthier workplaces. Businesses sometimes come to us for help with meeting their health and safety regulations. We help do this with our smart WorkRite software, which can manage all health and safety training across a company and keep track of individual data, so it’s easy to produce reports and conduct audits. We also develop engaging e-learning modules on a range of topics. We still design and sell ergonomic chairs, sit-stand desks and a huge range of other products. Our expertise means we can visit businesses to conduct DSE assessments and offer advice and recommendations. We also offer free equipment set-up to make sure customers are getting the most out of their purchases. We’re also just as happy to visit someone’s home office as we are a multi-national organisation. Health and well-being is important whoever you are, or whatever you do.”

What specialist equipment do you offer for the workplace and how do they work?

“We offer everything from sit-stand desks and ergonomic office chairs, to vertical computer mice and compact keyboards. Sit-stand desks are growing in popularity as we follow our Scandinavian neighbours, 90% of whom use sit-stand desks. At the moment that figure is just 1% in the UK – but we hope to change that. Sit-stand desks have an electric motor that changes the desk from a sitting to a standing position. This encourages users to be more active throughout the working day.”

What additional advice would you offer for helping prevent work-related MSDs and injuries?

“Move more. Stand up, walk to work, walk at lunch, stretch during your breaks. Moving your body in any way at all is better than not moving. At Posturite we encourage active working (otherwise known as activity based working, or ABW). We believe employers should create an environment that encourages and rewards activity. This will no doubt help reduce work-related health problems, reduce absenteeism, boost productivity and increase staff happiness.”

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For further information and the full range of products available visit: posturite.co.uk or call 0845 345 0010

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