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The amount of time we spend on the phone – either for business or personal use – can have a harmful effect on our overall health. The concerns about how posture and phone use influences well being is not a new one, however, it has become a greater concern due to the increase of the amount of time we spend on the phone.

It is hard to imagine a time when we didn’t spend quite as much time on the phone as we do now. These days it seems everyone has one and cell phones have made it so that we are never out of reach of our friends, family and co-workers. There are also many people, like call centre workers, who spend a large portion of their work days on the phone.

“What most people do is hold the phone between their shoulder and their ear or they bend or twist their wrists in a way that causes strain on the fingers and the wrists. If this is what someone is doing frequently and for prolonged periods of time, they may be doing damage to their necks, shoulders, backs and wrists,” warns Ruan Adlem, Business Development Manager of Southern Africa for Jabra, Westcon-Comstor.

Improper posture in the work place can produce a number of different issues including neck pain, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and even muscle strains. These painful conditions undoubtedly lead to a decrease in productivity, however, they do create immediate and long term issues for the individual who suffers as a result of posture problems, and extensive telephone use.

Over time, cradling the phone between neck and shoulder, may affect disc and vertebrae integrity, causing wear-and-tear. Ideally, the phone should be held in the hand and the position switched from one hand to another.

“What we recommend that people do is assess how their work station is laid out and whether or not it is ergonomically supportive. If an employee is spending a great deal of time on the telephone, a headset is the ideal solution. Not only will it allow them to go hands free, there will be no pressure placed on the nerves and muscles of the neck to lead to injury,” Adlem explains.

Jabra headsets, which are available from Westcon-Comstor, come with a selection of solutions for the operator or executive who spends a great deal of time on the phone. Jabra’s wired Jabra Bix 2400 II is specifically designed for professionals, with cushioned earphone covers and noise cancellation technology to ensure that damage to the ear is mitigated.

“The hands free style of working allows staff to stretch, walk around and refrain from engaging in neck posture that can cause them pain and long term damage. Most of our time during the day is spent at work. And if most of that time is spent on the phone, it’s vital that we take a serious look at getting the right hands free technology in so that we can maintain our spine and overall health,” advises Adlem.