Can Poor Posture Affect Your Workforce?

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Todd Meier

Our mothers always told us to sit up straight and, odds are, you rolled your eyes and ignored her request. As we’ve grown older, we’ve realized the importance of proper posture. Now we remind ourselves to sit up straight, not hunch our shoulders and stop slouching. But, while we are at least more conscious of our posture and alignment, are we really sitting up straight?

A Little-Known Wellness Factor

Posture is key to a healthy life. The way you position your body affects everything from your muscles to lungs. So when we slouch or exhibit poor posture, our organs and systems can’t function properly. Not only that, bad posture can lead to an array of health issues, including early degenerative changes in your lumbar and spine, and increased incidence of osteoarthritis and poor circulation. Health concerns like these can often lead to presenteeism in the workplace and hinder overall employee productivity.

As a vocational case manager, many of the musculoskeletal disorder cases I see are caused, in part, by improper posture. The main issue is that most people do not realize what true proper posture is. Our bodies are so out of alignment, that when we “correct” our position, we don’t make a complete adjustment. But, there are tools on the market now that can help.

We’re All Guilty

Recently, I became aware of the Lumo Lift, a wearable device that can help track your posture throughout the day, and decided to test it myself.

After wearing the Lumo Lift for a day, I realized that I may not practice what I preach as well as I thought. The small tracker attached to my shirt and sent small vibrations whenever I left proper posture. I didn’t realize how often I left proper alignment until I was constantly reminded of it.

The Lumo Lift tracks your posture and creates a score via an app on your phone, showing how well you kept your posture in alignment that day. It was amazing to see my score go up after wearing the tracker for only a few days. I began to correct my posture on my own and became consciously aware of my posture and what it truly means to have my body aligned.

Incentivizing Wellness

As I noted above, it’s important to help encourage proper ergonomics and mechanics in the workplace to help with your employees’ overall health and productivity. But how can you help your employees gain a better understanding of the effects of their posture?

As with most wearable fitness trackers, this type of device could be incorporated into one of your company’s wellness programs or wellness challenges. These types of preventive wellness initiatives can help keep employees in the office and help combat conditions that could contribute to presenteeism. The scoring factor can help create an incentive for employees to improve their scores through competition. By making it an officewide initiative, co-workers can hold each other accountable and help enforce better habits.

We all want to lead long, healthy lives and, as it turns out, mothers do know best. By doing something as simple as sitting up straight we can improve our overall well-being. Encouraging your employees to use proper posture can increase productivity and prevent absenteeism, leading to a more efficient work environment. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see the perks of having good form. So, as mom used to say, “Straighten up and stop slouching — it’s bad for you!”