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Save money by asking physios to review working practices, employers urged

11 April 2012 - 12:22pm

Companies that use occupational physiotherapists to review working practices save money as well as help boost employees’ well-being.

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Nicola Hunter: 'We need to plan to be more active'

That was the message given by Nicola Hunter, whose practice is based in Bury, Greater Manchester, when she addressed a seminar on flexible working in London last month.

Ms Hunter, the immediate past chair of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics, said employers saved £3 for every £1 they invested in occupational physios.

Risks facing office workers

The main risks facing office workers included musculoskeletal problems, back pain and stress – with lengthy periods spent sitting down at computers being particularly hazardous.

Ms Hunter said employees should see their chair as ‘the enemy’ and, even among those who ran or took part in vigorous exercise, those who remained seated the longest were more likely to have high blood pressure, a larger waist and raised blood sugar levels.

‘We need to plan to be more active,’ said Ms Hunter, pointing out that equipment was now available that enabled staff to walk on treadmills while working on computers.

Flexible working

Sophy Hough, business director with BT Workstyle, an arm of BT that advises organisations on flexible working arrangements, said the days of office workers having their own personalised desks were numbered.

The BT organisation now employs 63,000 ‘flexible workers’ and 14,500 teleworkers, many of whom are based at home, Ms Hough said.

Meanwhile, BT Workstyle clients included South East Essex NHS Foundation Trust, where a flexible approach meant clinicians now spend more time away from the office supporting vulnerable clients, she added.

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