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Last Updated: Monday, 29 March, 2004, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Cluttered desks make workers ill
Workers are advised to de-clutter
Millions of office workers are suffering from a new affliction if the results of a survey are to be believed.

Researchers at NEC-Mitsubishi say the nation's office workers are being hit by "Irritable Desk Syndrome".

They say long working hours, cluttered desks and poor posture are making many people ill.

The company, which makes computer monitors, says regular breaks and making desks more personal could reduce the symptoms of this condition.

Some 2,000 people were questioned as part of the survey. Of these, 67% said they are more tied to their desks than they were two years ago.

Around 40% said they were infuriated by too much clutter and paper on their desks but could not be bothered to do anything about it.

The 'Deskology' guide
Setting Up: Pay more attention to the way you set up your desk to reduce stress and health risks
Sitting Pretty: Adjusting the way you sit to improve back posture
Take Five: Take a few minutes to stretch at your desk to reduce injury from routine activity
Change of Scene: Take regular breaks away from your desk to improve concentration, overall health and colleague interaction
Express Yourself: Give your desk individuality to remind you of life outside work
Keep Cool: Prevent dehydration and overheating at work to promote higher energy levels
De-clutter: Organise your desk to reduce stress levels and increase productivity
Another 35% said they suffered from back or neck pain because they knowingly sit at their desk in an awkward position.

NEC-Mitsubishi has teamed up with another company Open Ergonomics to produce a simple "Deskology" guide to help people improve their work area.

It advices workers to pay more attention to the way they sit and set up their desk.

"Deskologist" Nigel Robertson, a consultant at Open Ergonomics, urged workers to take the matter seriously.

"What most individuals fail to realise is that desk symptoms typically escalate very quickly, from persistent discomfort to chronic pain which can end a person's career and reduce their quality of life in a wide range of ways.

"The two essentials for less stressful, more productive desk management are: don't endure - act today; and do it yourself - don't wait for someone else to fix it for you."

Richard Jones, head of technical affairs at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, urged employers to do more to ensure employees were not damaging their health at work.

"Employers are required under the law to carry out a risk assessment for employees," he told BBC News Online.

"If they carried out this risk assessment many of these problems could be avoided.

"The whole thrust of the regulations are to improve the ergonomics of work stations. A proper risk assessment should make workstations as adjustable as possible."

Workers gift 23bn of free work
26 Feb 04  |  Business
Improving the health of workers
25 Feb 04  |  Health

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