Experts: Life-sized model shows what office workers might look like in 20 years

Health. A behavioral futurist and a team of occupational health experts developed the model based on a survey of 3,000 office workers.

02 Dec 2019 | 10:52

She's got a hunched back, swollen limbs, and bloodshot eyes. And in 20 years, you'll be just like her if you don't improve your working conditions, experts warn."Emma," the sickly work colleague of the future, is a life-sized dummy built to show how sitting all day at ergonomically-unfriendly desk might affect workers.

This cautionary vision was cooked up by researchers after interviews with more than 3,000 employees about their health issues and concerns. The team call for radical changes to the way we work -- including more ergonomic office future and breaks to get staff out of their seats and moving around.

Behavioral futurist William Higham and a team of experts from the fields of ergonomics, occupational health, and professional well-being set out to investigate the effects that office workplaces are having on employee health. Based on surveys of more than 3,000 workers in France, Germany and the UK, the team predicted how offices might change the human body over the next 20 years.

From their findings, which were commissioned by office equipment firm Fellowes, the researchers teamed up with model specialists Helix 3D Ltd to create "Emma," a disturbingly distorted life-sized mannequin to illustrate the potential impact of modern workstations on our bodies.

Emma's ailments include:
A permanently bent back caused by sitting for hours in a poor position
Varicose veins ,caused by poor blood flow, another consequence of extended sitting
A rotund stomach, also caused by lots of sitting
Dry and red eyes, from long hours looking into a computer screen
Swollen wrists and ankles, caused by repetitive movement
Sallow skin, caused by overexposure to artificial light
Eczema, a skin condition exacerbated by stress
Red forearms and upper legs, from regular contact with laptop heat
Swollen sinuses, caused by poor air quality