Beware the effects of 'Irritable Desk Syndrome'

2004

Researchers have come up with a new affliction to add to the list of woes endured by the modern office worker - Irritable Desk Syndrome.

Poor posture, cluttered desks and hours spent working on the computer can damaging the health of office staff, according to research carried out for NEC-Mitsubishi.

The problem is exacerbated by the length of time people spend at their desks - two thirds of those questioned said that they are more tied to their desks now than they were two years ago.

As a result, more than a third of office workers said they suffered from back or neck pain because of sitting at their desk in an awkward position.

One in three also said that they now ate lunch at their desk, a habit which, as we reported last week, brings its own health hazards since the average desk plays host to 400 times more germs than a lavatory seat.

"Extra desk-time coupled with more paper and clutter, poor desk set-up, bad eating habits and fewer breaks is creating a new threat to productive office-life in the form of Irritable Desk Syndrome," the research claimed.

Of the 2,000 people questioned, four out of ten said they were infuriated by too much clutter, but could not be bothered to do anything about it.

Nigel Robertson, a "deskologist" and a senior consultant at Open Ergonomics, said: "What most individuals fail to realise is that desk symptoms 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."