Self-massage tools are joining the hybrid working revolution to increase wellbeing

Over the past couple of years, we have collectively experienced a revolution in the way we work. Governments and businesses alike have been grappling with the ramifications. Little did we know that once the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, we would never return to the ‘old’ normal. But neither did we have any idea of what a ‘new’ normal might entail. The seismic shift in our way of working that took place prompted a debate on its pros and cons. And as ever, when there are two sides to a story, there will be differences of opinion.

For some people, working from home provided benefits by taking out the need of commuting and giving back the flexibility in professional life which allowed people to regain a better work/life balance while reducing both living costs and carbon footprint. Others, however, have expressed concerns about the impact of remote work on both their mental and physical health.

It is undeniable that we have witnessed the biggest shift in workplace dynamics in a generation. Gone are the days of the standard commute to and from the office. A recent survey of managers revealed that more than 80%1 of firms have now adopted some form of hybrid working.

As with all revolutions, however, there is a price to pay. And you don’t have to look much further than your local physiotherapist to find the answer.

Are poor work setups the price to pay for hybrid working?

In the summer of 2021, we interviewed physiotherapist Matt White, who explained: “we've certainly seen new people that we haven't seen before and a very common reason is back pain that has been, definitely seems to have been, precipitated by working from home, or at least working practices that have changed very rapidly for people”.

It appears that the price to pay for this revolution is an increase in back pain caused by unsuitable work setups. If you spend the majority of your day hunched over a computer, then this is most likely something you will be aware of. At a time when we are refocusing on our focus on mental health, we should not overlook our physical wellbeing.

It is likely that you began working from home from the comfort of a soft sofa - great on the surface but disastrous for your back health in the long run. According to the NHS, eight out of ten people in the UK are already affected by back pain at some point in their lives2. The rise of hybrid working and poor work setups will only exacerbate the issue.

However, mental and physical health is not a zero-sum game. They are equally important and complementary to each other. In the case of our wellbeing, we can have our cake and eat it too.

Before the pandemic, we witnessed a worrying rise in stress levels. According to the Health and Safety Executive3 (HSE) the rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety was on the rise. Hybrid working definitely has an important role to play in fixing this problem, but it is not a silver bullet.

A tool to relieve tension designed to target the back and neck with precision

To this end, a scramble has begun to find the right products to address the combined issues of work-related back pain and stress. Relieving both is vital to ensuring this new way of working is fit for the foreseeable future. One thing’s for sure: Whether you are working from home or the office, unwinding has never been more important.

One product designed to address such problems is Loop by PERCKO, a French company that has been designing back relief products since 2014. Inspired by the back pain his father experienced as a dentist from hunching over his patients, Alexis Ucko, founded PERCKO together with Quentin Perraudeau. As two engineers they wanted to work with health professionals to find simple and effective solutions to reduce spinal pain (neck pain, back pain, low back pain).

Loop is a self-massage roller designed by osteopaths and work ergonomists. This tool has been engineered to not only hit all major areas of the neck and back, but also to be small enough to take on the go. Could this be the weapon we need to fight the workplace revolution?

Loop has been designed to keep up with our busy lives on the go

The world must now keep pace as we celebrate the newfound freedom to decide where we live and work. This means that we need versatile tools that can keep up with our diverse and changing circumstances. Loop takes this concept and runs with it - or rather rolls with it. Not only is it small enough to be discreet and portable, but the range of exercises it provides means that you are catered for whether sitting at your desk, on the train, or with enough space to lie down.

Julian Nenninger, PERCKO's in-house osteopath and R&D Manager described the ergonomics of Loop: “ We developed Loop's patented shape to relax the deep muscles of the neck and back. Its curves were designed with precision to relieve tensions successively from the cervical area to the lower back without forgetting the shoulders and the trapezius muscles.”

  1. Cervical spine muscles: The innermost section of Loop is adapted to the shape of your neck to support and apply light pressure to the muscles of the cervical spine.
  2. Dorsal and trapezius muscles: The central section of Loop targets the deep dorsal and trapezius muscles. This area often holds tension linked to stress and can be difficult to reach.
  3. Lumbar muscles: The outermost section of Loop is designed to stimulate the deep muscles of the lumbar region. Its coating and shape ensure comfort with no risk of injury to the muscles, joints or ligaments.

Being able to hit the spot on the move is one thing but fitting it into your busy daily schedule is quite another. No matter how much time we may save by no longer needing to commute, it seems to be human nature to find a thousand more things to fill that gap. Busy schedules mean that squeezing in a ten-minute break to relax is often all that can be managed.

Any tool worth its salt in the new arena of hybrid working needs to be able to do just that. Loop self-massage tool is also unique in this respect. The exercises it was designed to carry out are all manageable in short ten-minute windows. That awkward 10-minute gap between meetings has now become your latest spa session.

Exercises designed for the workplace revolution - some things are better left to the professionals

Understanding a problem and addressing it are two entirely different things. For example, you may be aware that you carry excess tension in your neck and back; You probably also understand that your work setup is impacting your posture. You most likely agree that something needs to be done to fix it.

As much as we would like to control every aspect of our lives, including where we live, work, eat, and exercise, we simply can’t achieve everything. To make hybrid working physically sustainable, we need to listen to the professionals.

The great thing about Loop is that PERCKO has not simply designed a tool to address these issues, but also developed it and put it into the hands of their customers -. This self-massage tool was designed by workplace ergonomists with specific exercises in mind to target precise areas of the neck and back which are most likely to suffer from hours spent at a desk. It comes with a set of six targeted exercises so that the moment you unbox it, you are equipped with the know-how to get on with the task at hand: improving your wellbeing. What is even better? They’ve even recorded videos to show how the process works.

Watch all videos here.

When it comes to hybrid working, viva la revolución - just don’t do it with a bad back and excess tension in your shoulders.

 

References:

1 Hybrid working: now for the reality…

2 NHS article on lower back pain

3 Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain, 2021

 


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