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Using modern technology to improve employee health

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Whether employees are based in a shared office space, a virtual office, on the move or in their own homes, it’s a fair bet they spend a good proportion of their day sat at a computer.

In recent years, more and more work tasks have become automated, meaning many UK employees are now reliant upon the power of their PC or laptop to carry out their daily duties.

The computer revolution has had a great number of benefits – eliminating many menial chores, speeding up work processes and increasing overall productivity.

The use of modern technology also helps to avoid worker frustration by allowing them to concentrate more on decision making tasks, rather than simply working through a labour process.

But there are one or two downside too, particularly with regards working habits in the workplace.

Employees who spend long periods of time sat at a computer workstation are notorious for suffering from physical ailments – with back complaints most commonly reported.

The reason for this is that, unbeknown to the worker themselves, they spend hours sat working each day with poor posture.

And over time, the way they sit at their PC can have a negative impact on their spine, causing pain, immobility and in the worst cases, long-term damage.

Bad backs are one of the UK’s most common causes of employee absence, and given the cost of sick days to employers, they are understandably incentivised to eliminate these where possible.

One way business owners may be able to reduce back complaints in the workplace is through the use of a special new PC launched by Philips.

The firm’s ErgoSensor monitor is specifically designed to promote a healthier and productive workplace – by telling workers off if they slouch in their seats.

The technology works courtesy of a sensor embedded in the monitor, where a webcam lens might normally sit.

This monitors the sitting position of the workers, and advises them to make an adjustment if it deviates from an acceptable standard.

Whether employees will welcome being told off by their computer screen remains to be seen – but the technology could be worth a try.

As an early warning device, the monitor may have benefits for employers. They need their staff to be fit and healthy in the workplace.

Eliminating the threat of back pain has the potential to realise significant cost savings in the long-term, through reduced absence and greater productivity.