08 Oct The Costs of Poor Posture to Business
Remember how your mother always told you to sit up straight? Well it turns out she was right. The effects of poor posture can have serious consequences in the work environment, affecting not only an organization’s wellness efforts but also its bottom line.
Poor posture is associated with a wide variety of health problems, including:
- back & neck pain
- poor respiratory function
- digestive function
- low mood and concentration
Return on Investment for Businesses
Some may argue that providing an ergonomic office set-up is enough. However in our experience as Physical Therapists we’ve seen plenty of employees with great ergonomic set-ups but still sitting or standing at them poorly. Not only that, but ergonomic office furniture is expensive at approximately $1300-4300 per employee:
- Office chair: $500-2000
- Footstool: $50-100
- Standing Desk: $500-3000 or Treadmill Desk: $1400-3000
- Anti-fatigue mat: $70-150
- Monitor Arm/stand: $50-$100 or Laptop Stand: $50-100
- Document Holder: $80-150
- Keyboard: $50-100
- Mouse: $30-80
Healthcare and Health Insurance for employees is also expensive. The Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research Trust reported in 2014, that on average, employer sponsored Health Insurance plans cost $6025 for single cover and $16,834 for family cover.
If an employee becomes injured, these costs can significantly increase. It is estimated that the annual direct and indirect costs attributable to those with musculoskeletal disease or injuries (back, neck or arm pain), including co-morbidity, cost of treatment and cost of lost wages, is estimated to be $950 billion per year (The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States, 2011). That equates to 5.7% of the 2013 US GDP!
As Orthopedic Surgeon Allston Stubbs said “Posture is probably the 800 pound Gorilla when it comes to Health and Wellness” (The Wall Street Journal, 2014)
The medical research tells us good posture is literally about being in a position that reduces the forces that go through the muscles, ligaments, bones and internal organs within your body to prevent injuries and pain. So great posture can literally change a person. Not only does great posture help to prevent back and neck pain, it can also improve mood, confidence, digestion and breathing.
So improved posture helps to prevent the health problems and follow-on effects associated with computer use and prolonged sitting. Therefore, businesses will see returns on investment through improved employee engagement and productivity and decreased absenteeism, healthcare and insurance costs as their employee’s overall health improves and pain and injury are prevented.
So can you help your employees improve their posture?
PROMETHEUS is a software solution that helps improve posture and blink rate in real time via an ordinary webcam to optimize overall health.
PROMETHEUS will also prompt users to take regular breaks from sitting and alert them if they slip into poor posture habits for too long, or if their blink-rate slips below optimal.
It produces customised reports on posture, breaks and blink rate to show progress. Quantifiable results mean that reward points are able to be calculated from the reports generated for each user. These points mean that businesses can then provide incentives for using PROMETHEUS. PROMETHEUS is able to be integrated seamlessly as part of a comprehensive Wellness Program or can easily be used as a stand-alone health and wellness application.
PROMETHEUS is suitable for anyone at any age, body type or fitness level – having great posture while you work or play is great for everyone!