India is not the healthiest of countries. Our samosa pakoda habits and sugary tea makes a large waist a common sight. Coupled with that, the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of corporate India is making back pain a household pain. With laptops being everywhere, a new type of back pain has emerged. Believe it or not, it called laptop back pain. Here are a few things that corporate India can do to help change this situation.
Laptops to Eye Level to Cure Back pain
Most companies don’t think twice about offering a good laptop computer to employees. Even the folks who never travel out of the office are given laptops. As a result, we have an entire generation with a slouching posture and necks bent to look down at the laptop. Even for college students, the laptop is becoming a necessity, getting them into the slouch at a very early age.
With not too much of additional cost, companies can help the employees maintain better back health. All it would need is a separate keyboard and a laptop stand of some sort. The total cost is probably less than Rs. 3,000 which is not even 10% of what companies spend on each laptop.
What this will do is that the laptop screen will be at eye-level for most employees. And since the keypad of the laptop is elevated, they will need to use an external keyboard and mouse. Those have a advantages of their own in preventing carpal tunnel. With the screen at eye level, you don’t have to bend your neck and your back stays straight. I would go further for long sitting jobs like developers (who don’t get up for many meetings) to be given larger screens to improve their posture further. This is the best thing one can do to improve laptop back pain.
Create Standing Meeting Rooms
There are a lot of us who spend a lot of time meeting people. Sitting for long periods is generally not helpful for the back, some say that it slowly kills us. Our bodies were never designed for sitting on our backsides for 12 hours a day.
It is not uncommon for people to have 2 to 3 meetings of 30 mins each during the day. It will not kill us to stand and take those meetings. In fact, all the attendees might be more attentive if they are standing. It will also do wonders for our backs since we will give sitting regular breaks. The tech-world has a term for this, its called a “stand up meeting”. The fact that you are not allowed to sit makes the meeting short. A healthy back is a side effect.
Breakout Areas with Exercise Balls
The informal meeting spaces like breakout areas seem to sport spunky sofas of colourful bean bags these days. They are all nightmares for our backs. I recommend that these areas should sport fun coloured exercise balls which people could sit on and talk.
Sitting on an exercise ball is unstable inherently. So, to provide stability your core and back muscles are worked and strengthened. I must add here that sitting for long hours on an exercise ball might not be recommended. It might be good for a few minutes to give your back a nice change.
Have a Stretching Room Available
There have been so many times that I commit some code and feel the urge to stand up and stretch a bit. On particularly bad days, I often feel like getting out a yoga mat and doing some stretches lying down. All office environments do not encourage such behaviour. I don’t disagree with that since it may be distracting to suddenly see some guy doing the downward dog in the middle of an office bay.
But, what might be a good idea to have a designated stretching room. Maybe even have an instructor their to help you out with it. If you are feeling a bit tardy, just step into the stretching room and give some exercise to your back. Again, this is a step which will require almost no money to be invested by the company. Some space and some yoga mats, that’s it.
These are some ways that I think corporate India needs to intervene to make its employees healthier and more productive in the long run. Laptop back pain is an epidemic that needs to be killed for common good. If you have more such ideas, please let me know in the comments section. I will be happy to include them with a kudos to you.