The efficacy and feasibility of incorporating a standing workstation for perceived low back pain and disability, among call centre workers : a pilot single case study

Maart, Shaun D. (2019-04)

Thesis (MScPhysio)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Introduction: Despite evidence supporting the use of standing workstations in offices the effect of standing in a call centre on work-related low back pain (WR-LBP) is unknown. It is also not known if it is feasible to introduce standing workstations into call centres. The aim of this pilot study was to ascertain the efficacy of a standing workstation on WR-LBP and related disability amongst call centre workers and to further explore the feasibility of a standing workstation in a call centre environment. Methods: The study was conducted at a national corporate call centre in South Africa. The study incorporated an n=1 (A-B-A-B) single case study design. Ethical approval was obtained from Stellenbosch University’s Health Research Ethics committee (Reference: S17/04/083). Approval to conduct the study at the selected company was obtained from management. Invitations to participate in the study was done internally by management, and a potential candidate was screened and recruited by the researchers. One call centre agent, his direct manager and five of his surrounding colleagues were invited to participate in the study. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to commencement of the study. Data collection was done over five weeks, i.e. alternating weeks of sitting and standing with a one-week accommodation period. The participant’s company-issued workstation was swopped during the standing weeks to accommodate the standing workstation. The participant was asked to complete the Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) questionnaires relating to his back pain and symptoms over the past week. Specifically designed open- and closed ended questionnaires for the participant, colleagues and the participant’s manager was used to collect data regarding the feasibility of implementing standing workstations in a call centre. Results: Prior to data capturing the participant spent his workday seated. During testing the participant spent 66% of the workday standing. The rest of the time was spent perch sitting, i.e. half-sitting. In the sitting weeks an increase in ODI and NPRS scores were noted indicative of discomfort due to the inability to change posture. In the standing weeks a decrease in these scores were noted. The standing posture thus appears to have had a positive effect on the participant’s overall disability. Conclusion: In conclusion, though the study design may have been lacking rigour it served as a good vehicle to explore the efficacy and feasibility of introducing a standing workstation into traditional call centres. Though the findings cannot be generalised to all call centres it does provide insight to the daily work-life of a call centre agent and how the change of a workstation affected his daily routine. The findings showed a reduction in disability and WR-LBP in a call centre agent as well as a reduction in sedentary time and adoption of standing as a viable work posture. Furthermore, it provided positive feedback on the feasibility of standing workstations in call centres. Further research should focus on larger samples and a wider population and perhaps on different workstation setups as well as other musculoskeletal disorders.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Inleiding: Ten spyte van bewyse wat die gebruik van staande werkstasies aanbeveel is die effek daarvan in inbelsentrums op werkverwante rugpyn nog onbekend. Dis ook nie bekend of dit haalbaar is om 'n staande werkstasie in 'n tradisionele inbelsentrum te gebruik nie. Die doel van hierdie loods-studie is om die doeltreffendheid van 'n staande werkstasie op rugpyn onder inbelsentrumwerkers te verken en om te bepaal of dit haalbaar is om 'n staande werkstasie in 'n inbelsentrum te inkorporeer. Metode: Die studie is gedoen by ‘n digbevolkte korporatiewe inbelsentrum in Kaapstad, Suid-Afrika. Die studie volg 'n n = 1 (A-B-A-B) enkel gevallestudie ontwerp. Etiese goedkeuring om die studie te doen is van die Universiteit Stellenbosch se gesondheid navorsing etiese komitee (Verwysing: S17/04/083) asook by die geselekteerde maatskappy verkry. Deelnemers is intern verwerf deur maatskappybestuur. Die toepaslike deelnemers was deur die navorsers verwerf. Die studie deelnemer, sy onmiddelike kollegas en hul bestuurder was gevra om deel te neem aan die studie. Ingeligte toestemming is van alle deelnemers voor aanvang van die studie verkry. Dataversameling was gedoen oor 'n tydperk van vyf weke. Die tradisionele werkstasie was verruil tydens die staande weke om die sit-staan lessenaar, wobble stoel en 'n staanmat te akkommodeer. Die deelnemer is gevra om die Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) en Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) vraelyste met betrekking tot sy rugpyn en simptome oor die afgelope week te voltooi. Spesifiek-ontwerpte vraelyste vir die deelnemer, kollegas en die deelnemer se span leier is gebruik om data oor die haalbaarheid van implementering van sit-staan werkstasies in 'n inbelsentrum te versamel. Resultate: Voor data insameling het die deelnemer heeldag gesit by sy lessenaar. Gedurende data insameling het hy 66% van die tyd gestaan en werk en die res van die tyd ge-halfsit op die wobble stoel. ‘n Toename in ODI en NPRS was opgemerk tydens die sit-weke wat moontlik daarop dui dat die deelnemer ongemaklik was in die sitpostuur. In die staan-weke het ons die teenoorgestelde opgemerk. Dit wil dus voorkom dat die staanpostuur gelei het tot ‘n afname in die deelnemer se ongeskiktheid. Gevolgtrekking: Ter opsomming, hoewel die studie ontwerp dalk afgeskeep het het dit gedien as ‘n toepaslike voertuig om vas te stel of dit haalbaar is om ‘n staande werkstasie in ‘n inbelsentrum te gebruik asook die effektiwiteit daarvan. Alhoewel die bevindinge van hierdie studie nie veralgemeen kan word nie het dit insig gebied tot die werking van ‘n inbelsentrum, die werker se roetine en hoe dit beinvloed word deur ‘n staande werkstasie. Tenspyte van die tekortkominge van die studie ontwerp het die studie bevindinge ‘n afname in ongeskiktheid van laer rugpyn en sittende tyd getoon in die deelnemer. Dit wil ook voorkom asof die deelnemer die staanpostuur goed aangeneem het as ‘n alternatiewe werkpostuur. Die studie bevindinge dui ook op positiewe terugvoer aangaande die gebruik van staande werkstasies in inbelsentrums. ‘n Aanbeveling vir toekomstige navorsing is om te fokus op ‘n weier studiegroep en dalk op verskillende tipes werkstasies en/of muskuloskeletale pyn populasies.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105887
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