As I sit hunched over a laptop in UNILAD’s humble HQ, this premonition of what office workers will look like in 20 years hits a little too close to home.
Scientists have created Emma – a larger-than-life, off-putting dummy with a hunched back, swollen limbs, eczema and varicose veins.
After a couple of decades of sitting at an ergonomically-unfriendly desk, experts warn you could look just like her.
Check out the video of Emma in action below:
Office equipment firm Fellowes commissioned the research, in which Behavioural Futurist William Higham and a team of experts from ergonomics, occupational health and professional well-being examined the effects office workplaces are having on employee health.
Following more than 3,000 interviews with employees from the UK, France and Germany regarding health concerns, the report dubbed The Work Colleague Of The Future is advising workplaces to make urgent changes to help prevent people turning out like poor old Emma.
Emma was developed after the researchers teamed up with model specialists Helix 3D Ltd, looking for a way to viscerally illustrate the potentially detrimental impact of office life on people.
As reported by the MailOnline, Higham said:
The Work Colleague of the Future report shows that employers and workers really need to act now and address the problem of poor workplace health.
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 setup, our offices are going to make us very sick. As a result, workers in the future could suffer health problems as bad as those we thought we’d left behind in the Industrial Revolution.
Emma’s condition is the by-product of an everyday office lifestyle: her back is bent from sitting for hours on end at a desk, she’s got varicose veins due to poor blood flow, a rotund stomach from being seated all the time, and dry and red eyes from staring at a computer screen all day.
More than 90% of those surveyed reported being concerned they were spending too much time sitting at their desk, with 98% saying they were worried it’d lead to future health problems.
In the UK, 90% of those survey reported health issues that affect their productivity, while almost half suffered from eye strain, sore backs and headaches caused by their workspace.
Work-related sick days reportedly cost the economy £77 billion every year, with seven out of 10 workers allegedly taking medication to tackle their issues and concerns.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.