Office Work: The Evolution of a Health Hazard and the Solution
The story of today’s office starts with the Industrial Revolution. There quickly grew a need to process ever-increasing amounts of information. Office technology then included quill pens, pen knives, inkwells, sand for blotting ink, and candles.
As the 1800s progressed, steel pens replaced quill pens, and steel pens were replaced by typewriters. Together typewriter ribbon and carbon paper created myriad documents that needed to be filed. The file folder dates back to the American Civil War, and the first file cabinet to 1898.
The core of today’s office was in place by 1900. The vast changes over the century since have made processing information faster and vastly more efficient. Despite the dynamic changes in information tools, the configuration of office workspaces scarcely changed.
Office Work Is a Health Hazard
Information technology has evolved spectacularly over the last several decades. What evolved far more slowly is the realization that office work imposes unnatural stresses on the human body. It took decades before the costs of poor posture and repetitive movement were finally understood.
The seriousness of prolonged sitting at a work station is seldom realized. An Australian study of 200,000 people aged 45 and over found that there were 5,000 deaths in three years, with 7% of the deaths related to prolonged sitting. Movement and standing during the work day reduced this risk.
Current research shows significant employee health problems from prolonged sitting in work situations. Standing helps, but prolonged standing also has some negative impacts on employee health. Standing does have some impact
How a Sedentary Lifestyle Affects Your Health
From an evolutionary (and survival) standpoint, the invention of technology took us very quickly from an active “moving” species to a population that sits an average of 13 hours per day. Add sleeping hours to that and it leaves very few hours, or even minutes, to be active. Inactivity is making us chronically sick and putting a huge burden on our health care system. It’s unfortunately a very sad reality of the world today.
Deadly blood clots from sitting: Are you at risk?
While we are sitting at our desks, rushing to complete tasks, we might not have the extra time to spare to consider our cardiovascular health in these situations. More specifically, we might not know that we are at risk of developing a potentially life-threatening blood clot in our legs when we sit for an excessive amount of time.
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