19 August 2022

Workspace Week: Placing Australians’ Spinal Health First

After several lockdowns from COVID-19 and two years spent working from home – working in hybrid settings such as a combination of working from home and in the office has certainly become the norm. Never in the history of modern work, have working professionals had the opportunity to have such a fluid opportunity to work anywhere including cafes, parks, libraries, or the beach to even on holidays.

The Australian government announced back in August last year that up to two-thirds of Australians are now working from home1. However, a study also completed by Australian Unions found that a staggering 42% of Australians working from home do not have a suitable workstation or even the correct equipment when working from home2. This means although Australians are working more fluidly, with a better work-life balance, almost half are working in settings that are not set up properly, posing potentially serious health risks.

Following a survey conducted by the Australian Unions and the Federal Government’s announcement, the ACA undertook two national surveys to evaluate the risk factors and develop solutions. The results were alarming, revealing that a large number of Australians may be putting their health at risk due to home workspaces not being set up correctly.

This is why ACA decided to launch a new public health campaign and health initiative, ‘Workspace Week’ which will run from 22-28 August. Workspace Week reinforces and reminds Australians about the importance of ergonomic considerations for setting up a workspace at home – allowing the chiropractic profession to not only demonstrate a leading role in this area but promote the importance of positive musculoskeletal health in our communities.

We are beyond excited about this new campaign and its potential to enable ACA chiropractors to be leading voices in the field of workspace ergonomics.

ACA President, Dr David Cahill says “While a by-product of the pandemic has seen working from home become the norm, the results of our recent surveys show alarming statistics that many Australians are yet to adjust to this ‘new normal’ and may be risking their health because they haven’t adopted safe work habits at home.”

By implementing simple steps to ensure an ergonomic workspace including using an ergonomic office chair, adjusting a laptop to eye level; and positioning the knees slightly below the hips when sitting, everyone can develop positive spinal health habits that may prevent spinal health problems when working from anywhere.”

Everyone can participate in national Workspace Week to minimise health risks to their spine, neck, and lower back and maintain overall physical health and wellbeing. As a result, we’re urging all Australians to download the ACA’s recently developed free resources to learn how to manage their workspace better.

We have a free Workspace Week checklist that has simple to follow and effective techniques on how to set up your workspace safely in an ergonomic way that fosters positive spinal habits. We have also launched a new version of our free Straighten Up app which has a 3-minute exercise program. The exercise program consists of a set of simple exercises that can be completed at any time of the day and will help improve posture, stabilise core muscle groups and enhance health.

So while your chiropractor can’t be there 24/7 correcting your posture, the Straighten Up App can! Designed to act as ‘Your Pocket Chiropractor’, the app is the perfect option to use while having a break.
For more information about Workspace Week, to download the Workspace Checklist and free Straighten Up App or to locate your local ACA chiropractor, visit workspaceweek.org.au.

References:

  1. Baxter J., Brown L. 2021, ‘Two-Thirds of Australians Are Working From Home’, Australian Government, Australian Institute of Family Studies, accessed 17 June 2022, https://aifs.gov.au/media-releases/two-thirds-australians-are-working-home
  2. Australian Unions, ‘Working From Home’, accessed 17 June 2022
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