CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES joined Welsh Health Minister Lesley Griffiths on the Senedd steps on Tuesday to help kick-off Work Out At Work Day 2012.
Organised by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, Workout at Work Day on June 19th was created to encourage people to be more physically active in order to combat stress and avoid musculoskeletal disorders, like back pain.
The two North East Wales AMs started the days events with a pre-work walk around Cardiff Bay at 7.30am.
As part of the event the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) published a new report which revealed that office workers in Wales are putting their mental and physical health at risk by working more than two hours extra each night at home.
CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES said:
“I’m delighted to help kick off Work Out At Work Day 2012 and encourage everyone to improve their physical activity in the workplace. As an employer I have an important responsibility to make sure my staff stay fit and healthy at work and avoid unnecessary injury.
“It’s actually quite easy to build more exercise into the daily work routine and become more active. It can significantly improve mental as well as physical health and I’m delighted to take part in the range of events organised this year.
“As the survey conducted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy shows, the increased levels of work being done at home or on a mobile device is impacting on people’s overall health. We need to take more responsibility for our own health and events like these will certainly help.”
PHILLIPA FORD, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy policy officer for Wales, said:
“A happy, healthy workforce is a productive one and it is very important that employers ensure they do what they can to look after the wellbeing of their staff.
“Sickness absence can be devastating for the individual and very expensive for employers and society at large so encouraging better working habits is in everyone’s interest.
“Workout at Work Day is a great opportunity to demonstrate the easy, low-cost ways people can be more physically active on a daily basis and hopefully act as a launchpad for healthier lifestyles.”
Office workers in Wales are putting their mental and physical health at risk by working more than two hours extra each night at home, a new survey for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) reveals.
Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of office workers polled in Wales for the CSP said they continued working on smartphones and other devices after they left the office, and spent an average of two hours 42 minutes doing so.
These stints came on top of an average of six hours 27 minutes in front of a screen in the office during their regular working day.
The UK averages were two hours 18 minutes of work at home after six hours 22 minutes in front of a screen in the office.
On Workout at Work Day about 300 physiotherapists will go into workplaces across the UK to demonstrate easy, low-cost ways for employers to help their staff lead healthier lives.
Notes for Editors:
The survey of office workers in Wales also revealed:
• 53 per cent of office workers said their out of hours working had increased in the past two years, but of these people just 13 per cent said their boss was trying to do anything about it.
• The main reasons cited for doing extra work were to ‘ease the pressure of the working day’ (32 per cent) and ‘want to keep up to date 24/7’ (32 per cent), and ‘too much work to do’ (33 per cent).
• 37 per cent of people surveyed said additional work at home helped reduce their overall stress levels
• A worrying 26 per cent want their boss to offer counselling services for stress.
Physiotherapists are concerned that ‘over working’ is storing up both physical and mental health problems for the future – particularly since 66 per cent of those surveyed reported suffering job-related ill health such as headaches and back pain.
The CSP warned that poor posture when using smartphones and other mobile devices – which many people do their additional work on – can lead to back and neck pain.
Fewer than one in four people told the survey that they considered their posture when looking at screens outside of work. Long hours can also contribute to stress-related illness.
The CSP hopes employers will become more aware of the need to keep their staff healthy, and will use Workout at Work Day to encourage better working habits among staff. Simple low cost measures include:
• Encouraging staff to report any concerns about their health at an early stage
• Encouraging staff to take regular breaks and be physically active during lunchtimes
• Displaying leaflets and posters promoting good posture, health advice and activities for staff
• Arranging and supporting activities that help staff to get active, like lunchtime walking clubs
• Creating links with local gyms and clubs
• Implementing a Cycle to Work scheme and taking advantage of a tax exemption enabling you to loan to staff cycles and cycling equipment as a tax-free benefit
• Encouraging active travel to and from work e.g. cycling, walking and running
• Encouraging workstation assessments to reduce and treat musculoskeletal disorders.
Access to physiotherapy, fitness classes and ergonomically-designed chairs were three services that many workers in the survey said they would like their employer to pay for.
The CSP has produced a new free leaflet in association with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development called ‘Under Pressure’. This looks at the link between physical activity and mental wellbeing, with advice on staying happy and healthy at work.
For more information about Workout at Work Day or to access free leaflets with advice on staying fit for work, visit http://www.csp.org.uk/wowd The Twitter hashtag for the day is #workoutatwork