Three in four office workers blame ill-thought-out office furniture on their number of annual sick days, according to an article in the Daily Mail this week. What's more, it's costing companies a total of £7bn in sick pay every year, ergonomics specialist Fellowes, has claimed.

The Daily Mail website report added that nearly three quarters of respondents reported ill health as a direct result of poorly equipped desks - almost two thirds of these employees take medication to relieve it.

Back pain, headaches and depression were the most commonly reported ailments, which in a surprising number of cases (one in 20) forced respondents to quit their job. The study reflects a worrying trend of employers' lack of interest in employee comfort and environment; and a distinct lack of consideration to day-to-day wellbeing.

Fit for purpose furniture

It is made clear in these statistics that something needs to change. Employees' health should be of extreme importance for companies, to both reward their value to the company, and to avoid pain and sickness that results in unnecessary days off. Well-considered furniture that is fit for purpose is, of course, key.

"Getting the best from each employee at its base level must start with the basics - having the tools to do the job required," explains Justin Bass, Managing Director at commercial furniture specialist Sketch Studios.

He adds: "We should start with the most important and most expensive asset in every company - the people. We need to ask them how they work and examine what they need to complete their tasks and objectives. The task chair, for example, should be comfortable working in all day, it should be easily adjustable so everyone can get comfortable and have true ergonomic support."

One size won't fit all

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