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This is How 20 Years of Office Work Can Affect Your Body

Sitting down at a desk, staring at a computer screen all day, hunching over your keyboard and other common office life behaviors can and will affect your body over time — and Fellowes, a British office equipment company, commissioned a lifelike full-size model to demonstrate how.


Behavioral futurist William Higham worked with a team of health experts to study data collected from more than 3,000 office workers in Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Results from the study showed that 9 out of 10 British office workers believe their poor health is caused by their work environment, which leads to strained eyes, headaches and back soreness.

Emma — the life-size model — was created as a cautionary tale, to demonstrate how office habits can affect the body over time. Emma has poor posture, thanks to spending hours each day hunched over her keyboard, and a round stomach due to lack of exercise. She also has red, blotchy skin to indicate stress-induced eczema, along with dry, red eyes caused by too much screen time, and varicose veins in her legs caused by prolonged sitting and poor circulation.

Higham told the Independent, “Unless we make radical changes to our working lives, such as moving more, addressing our posture at our desks, taking regular walking breaks, or considering improving our workstation set up, our offices are going to make us very sick.”

If you work in an office, there are several ways you can help combat impending health issues. Prolonged sitting is associated with weight gain, cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline, so requesting a standing desk is one way to help incorporate more movement into your day. Other tips include taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from your office building and taking walks every so often throughout the day.

Remember to be aware of your posture throughout the day, whether you are sitting or standing, and consider blue-light-blocking glasses to help protect your eyes from your computer screen. Another important way to take control of your health and avoid workplace health issues is to find ways to effectively manage your stress levels.