Employees form a vital part of every business, and sickness absence can have a significant effect on the business’s bottom line. No matter whether your employees work in an office, a shop, a kitchen or a workshop, employees are at risk of musculoskeletal injuries resulting from standing or sitting for extended periods of time.
Risks of standing for prolonged periods
People standing for long periods of time, like in shops, kitchens, bars and receptions can be affected by health problems including damaged joints, swelling of the legs, orthopedic foot problems and venous disorders. Back, neck and hip pain are also commonly experienced by people who spend many hours standing in the workplace.
These issues result from the additional pressure put on our circulatory system, with our heart having to work harder and pressure on the vein walls increasing to move blood throughout our body.
How anti-fatigue mats help
Anti-fatigue mats encourage regular foot movement, requiring the feet to adapt to the cushioned mat surface. These small movements of the foot and calf muscles expending and contracting activate the venous pump and support the heart in pumping blood back up to the heart.
As a result, employees are more comfortable standing for extended periods of time and less likely to experience fatigue in their legs, with blood circulation, posture and overall health benefitting from the use of anti-fatigue mats.
Many different types of anti-fatigue mats are available for different workplace environments. For example, for kitchen and bar staff who work in wet environments, a mat with drainage holes is ideal. Oil-resistant mats are also available. Carefully choose the right type of matting for your business to prevent slips and trips.
Risks of sitting at work
While standing for prolonged periods of time can have negative effects on employees’ health and wellbeing, sitting for long periods of time also comes with its own set of problems. Sitting and inactivity, in general, is one of the top causes of preventable death, leading to cardiovascular problems and diabetes in many employees who spend a large part of their day sitting in offices across the country.
The rise of standing desks
Standing desks are becoming more and more popular in offices, giving employees the opportunity to work standing up instead of sitting down. Many of these desks can be lowered with a crank or with the touch of a button, allowing users to vary their position throughout their day at the office.
Because both sitting and standing for long periods are associated with health risks, the use of an anti-fatigue mat is recommended in conjunction with standing desks. The right mat provides a balance between cushioning and foot support for users of standing desks, thereby allowing them to reap the benefits of standing at work, without experiencing any of the negative effects associated with standing.
About the Author:
Viviane Carter is Digital Marketing Executive at CSI Products, a provider of workplace products including a wide range of anti-fatigue mats and workshop matting.