Massage at work has become an increasingly popular trend
Back pain and stress are some of the most common causes of sick leave in the UK. Absenteeism due to back problems and stress-related conditions is estimated to be costing UK companies billions of pounds every year whilst stress is one of the leading causes of staff absences in the workplace.
Regular office massage sessions are an easy and cost-effective way to promote employee wellbeing and to reduce work-related stress. This in turn can help to prevent absenteeism and to increase productivity.
So, what is office massage?
In a typical workplace massage session, a massage therapist comes to the office with a specifically designed massage chair. The receiver of the massage sits in the chair comfortably and fully clothed. No oils are used, which makes chair massage a convenient option for the workplace. A treatment usually lasts around fifteen minutes, but longer sessions are available as well.
The massage sequence used in on-site massage has been created especially for the workplace and is based on different massage techniques that include acupressure and shiatsu. The massage focuses on the neck, the head, the back and the shoulders, the arms and the hands. The sequence used in office massage can help to relieve muscular tension, ease pain in the neck and the shoulders, de-stress and relax, but also re-energise so that the employee returns to his or her desk rejuvenated and focused. As the massages are relatively quick office massage is not one of those treatments that can leave you too relaxed to work. A short chair massage can help to clear the mind and can make one feel more alert than before.
How employees benefit from office massage
A chair massage can ease tension and pain in the neck and shoulders and prevent headaches caused by tension and stress. Many office workers suffer from chronic tension and pain in the neck and shoulder area and frequent massage sessions at work can help to relieve even long-term pain. Regular massages can also be used to prevent repetitive strain injuries, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, all very common conditions in the workplace today.
A regular massage is one of the most enjoyable ways to prevent stress at work. The massage chair can be placed in a separate room or in a corner where it will not disturb other workers. A chair massage does not require more time than a coffee break, but offers many more health benefits.
How office massage can benefit an organisation
Regular office massage sessions can improve employee health and wellbeing which in turn can improve productivity, reduce sick days caused by back pain or stress, boost morale and improve worker loyalty. A relaxed team of employees works better and achieves better results than one that is under constant stress. Massage days at work are also an easy way to enhance a company's public image as an employer of choice that cares for its workers.
Several studies have found that massage can ease stress and anxiety, reduce stiffness and pain in the body and even control blood pressure. As stress and back pain are some of the most common causes of sick leave in the UK, regular massage sessions can be a cost-effective way to improve productivity and reduce sick days.
How often should a company offer massage at work?
Some companies offer weekly massage sessions, some offer monthly massages in the office. Some companies invite massage therapists to the workplace for special events. How often sessions are provided depends on the company and the number of workers it has although few employees will turn down an offer of regular office massage visits.
Companies that hire massage therapists have noticed how regular treatments can improve employee morale, productivity and performance. When employees feel they are being looked after, they also remain more loyal to the company and create better results.
The Mayo Clinic: Massage: Get in touch with its many health benefits (online article on mayoclinic.com, 30 January 2010)
BBC News: Workers taking more sick leave (29 July 2002)
About the author: David Moore is the Managing Director of Office Retreat which specialises in on site office massage packages for companies based in London and the the U.K.
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