Scientists at the University of Lough borough have claimed that fleet drivers could face serious back problems if they don't start seeing their car as a work tool rather then a perk! Fuelling the potential problem for millions of employees is the tendency to use the car as a mobile office, which they say is symptomatic of a modern sales representative's life.
In order to avoid an epidemic of back related health issues, the research team from the University has urged fleet operators to make sure vehicles are fit-for-purpose. Research has revealed that those who were most at risk of back problems work long hours, drive in excess of 20 hours per week and cover an average of 22,000 business miles per year. They spend up to 40% of their time using their car as a mobile office – and that is a lot of sitting down! Additionally, they share a high targeted number of sales visits, lack the knowledge of how to adjust their driving position, carry heavy work related objects and have remote job roles which are disconnected from their head office.
Company cars are often viewed in terms of their looks and the status symbol they represent. Companies are being urged to view their cars as a basic sales tool which has the potential to make their employees feel good – or indeed bad. Employees need to be urged to make sure their seat is adjusted to a comfortable and safe driving position. They need to take regular breaks within their driving time and ensure they take short strolls to stretch cramped back muscles. A few moments spent unwinding tense muscles will ensure less time off sick through back related illness.
Life runs at a hectic pace these days and we all cram far more into the day than we were ever able to before. This is due to us being able to work virtually anywhere, but if there is an option, the car is not always the most sensible choice compared to a proper desk. Employers need to communicate the message that how the car will be used is basic to the choice of vehicle: getting it wrong will cost businesses dear in terms of lost hours due to ill health, and drivers may incur long-term health problems.
So go back to basics and remember that status is not everything!