Deskbound work culture stifles productivity


Deskbound work culture stifles productivity

Nick Booth

Britain's deskbound workforce is becoming increasingly uncommunicative and unhealthy with mobile technology an answer to the problem, according to a new study.

Performance consulting firm HB Maynard said forcing end-users to get out their chairs and talk to people could lift depression and motivate people to higher levels of productivity.

Modern deskbound, immobilised workers are less healthy, more prone to injury and less motivated, according to the study. Exactly half of all office workers feel they are chained to their desks and 80% of those interviewed felt that their health and productivity could improve if they were allowed to be more mobile.

We are currently allowing technology to demotivate people, commented Philippe Vanhoutte, managing director of Plantronics, which commissioned the study.

"Older workers are complaining about the longer hours they have to work, while younger workers want technology to be more suited to their working practises," he said.

In controlled testing over an eight day period, workers were given headsets and asked to make phone calls rather than communicate by e-mail. They were encouraged to move around the office as much as possible and make calls on the go.

According to the study, workers reported higher morale, lower fatigue levels and fewer phone-related physical complaints.

A University of Surrey study recently found that headset users suffer 31% less neck pain and are 16% less likely to suffer lower back pain.

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