Millions of office workers are suffering the effects of chronic poor "desk health".
A survey of 1,500 UK office workers by market research firm Tickbox.net, on behalf of ergonomic monitor firm ViewSonic, shows a link between poor ergonomics knowledge and ailments such as headaches, eye fatigue and backache.
The study reveals that 46% of office workers spend six or more hours in front of their computer screens each day, and 51% of these are not scheduling appropriate breaks according to ergonomic guidelines.
Around three-quarters of respondents said they suffered from headaches (67%), eye fatigue (77%) and backache (71%).
The incidence of physical symptoms increases markedly in line with lack of ergo-awareness. Work-induced stress and anxiety was also an issue for 78% of office workers.
Although most respondents said ergonomic issues were important to them (75%), only a fifth had complained to their manager and asked for a better desk, chair, phone or screen, despite the high incidence of health issues.
A third admitted to not knowing where to start in improving their desktop environment. The lack of knowledge is compounded by low levels of personal initiative, with only 15% having tried to investigate best desktop policy with colleagues or friends or having sought professional help.
Employers have a duty of care to make sure their employees work in the best possible environment. But almost half of respondents (47%) said they had been offered no advice on the best desktop layout or ergonomics best practice in the last 12 months.
More than two-thirds (69%) said they would consider future legal action if they developed a long-term illness or disability induced by their office environment.
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