The ONS (Office for National Statistics) recently published an article highlighting that the number of people in the workplace on long-term sickness has increased by 25% since before the pandemic.

Why an increase in long-term sickness?

Since 2019 the increase in long-term sickness is approximately half a million people, taking the figure up to 2.5 million.

We do have an aging workforce; however in the nearly 3 years since the pandemic started the workforce has needed to deal with working from home and potentially long COVID.

The pandemic has clearly had an influence on long-term sick numbers. From the survey data, it emerged that back and neck problems are the second biggest cause of the increase in numbers; for some people, their problems have become chronic.

How has posture been affected?

Working from home has impacted the nation’s posture in several ways. Workers have spent hours working in unsuitable conditions – inappropriate desk/chair/computer set up at a desk, working from a couch or on the floor, working from a bed, propped up with pillows. The adhoc movement that many will have been used to – walking around the office for refreshments or meetings, the walk to catch the train or bus, getting out of the office at lunchtime to grab a sandwich, have all been replaced by hours of Zoom or Teams meetings.

It all adds up to people being more sedentary since March 2020, and when we move less our muscles weaken. When we started working from home our posture may have felt uncomfortable if we worked from a couch or bed. However, our bodies learn very quickly how we move most of the time. Our brain and nervous system then help us to move into this position more easily. And before we realise what is happening we have developed a forward head posture, rounded shoulders and “text neck”.

When our heads move forward our ears move forward too. When this happens we add approximately 10 pounds of weight to our neck vertebrae and shoulder and back muscles. Over time this becomes very tiring for the body and if not improved may turn into more severe back problems.

What is the solution to improving posture?

The first step is to ask someone to take a relaxed standing photo of you which will highlight how your posture might have changed.

After this changing your work setup, planning and sticking to times to move during the day, and finding activities that you enjoy that get you moving will help. Lack of movement is the real enemy of our body.

And if you’re not sure where to start, seek out a professional to help you. Get in touch[/button] If you would like to know more, click below.

Get in touch