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Medicine Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Study Says Repetitive Strain Injury Costs $600m 169

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the still-free-to-me-just-painful dept.
4roddas writes "Work-related RSI cases are at an all-time high and the cost to businesses is spiraling, new Microsoft research reveals. Repetitive strain injury cases have soared by over 30 percent in the last year, costing businesses over US$600 million in lost working hours — and causing pain and debilitating discomfort to over-worked staff. Microsoft claims the rapidly emerging trend of 'mobile working' — with office-based employees now working on the move for an average of an hour more per day than they did two years ago using laptops and mobile devices — is behind this alarming climb in work-related injury. The company arrived at its conclusions in a poll among over 1,000 office workers, HR managers and office managers. This showed that 68 percent of office workers suffered from aches and pains, with the most common symptoms including back ache, shoulder pain and wrist/hand pain."
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Microsoft Study Says Repetitive Strain Injury Costs $600m

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  • by huit (1285438) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @09:22AM (#23666975)
    I use a 15" at work, would much prefer a desktop with a decent screen. By the time you hook up external keyboard and mouse it has to sit so far away you need an external monitor as well.
  • by nauseum_dot (1291664) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @09:23AM (#23666987)

    I have to say that this is amazing, when you give your employees the ability to work at home, they over work themselves.

    That seems the opposite of conventional wisdom, and I remember reading another story here, some time ago, that said that in the office employees think that telecommuters appear to be doing less work.

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @09:23AM (#23666993)
    Clearly, what we need is a new way to interface with a computer, something like speaking/yelling at it and/or a touchscreen interface.
    Naively I ask, does Microsoft have any such projects in development?
    hmmm....

    Idiots. If they wouldn't pop up a notification every time a computer farts or a mouse is plugged in, maybe interfacing with the computer wouldn't be so, you know, repetitive!

  • by bunyip (17018) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @09:26AM (#23667033)
    My employer (Sabre Holdings) offers Active Release Therapy (ART) for RSI and similar problems. The doctor that does this comes into the office two mornings a week and does 15 minute treatment sessions. No complex insurance forms and the associated cost of running around and taking time off to get it treated. It's a nice benefit to have :-)

    I've had ART done on me for running injuries (repetitive strain) and it's worked really well, I recommend it.

  • by stavros-59 (1102263) * on Thursday June 05, 2008 @09:28AM (#23667059)
    ...in something that's been known about and documented over the last 20 odd years. Any one pounding keys all day is at risk for this. I'm not sure a survey was needed. I'm trying to work out what Microsoft are doing these sort of surveys for now. Maybe even find out why they are doing it now.
  • by Killjoy_NL (719667) <slashdot@nOSPam.remco.palli.nl> on Thursday June 05, 2008 @09:29AM (#23667079)
    According to this article from may 16th

    http://www.nu.nl/news/1569649/36/rss/RSI-klachten_weer_op_niveau_van_10_jaar_geleden.html [www.nu.nl]

    (sorry it's in dutch) our RSI numbers are down to the same as ten years ago. So we don't see to have the problem that MS is warning us about.
    I wonder why that is?
  • Dvorak (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mwilliamson (672411) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @09:31AM (#23667111) Homepage Journal

    I'm on a computer a good portion of the day and really enjoy using the Dvorak keyboard layout. Some studies say they layout results in faster typing, some say not, however the amount of finger travel required to type on Dvorak is substantially less than qwerty. I've been using Dvorak for about 12 years now and haven't had any wrist trouble.

    It just makes sense to use a optimized keyboard layout instead of an intentionally de-optimized layout from 130 years ago that was primarly designed to prevent typewriter hammers from sticking together. To further show how asinine the qwerty layout is, one of the marketing directives was to put all the letters to spell TYPE WRITER, which was the machines' brand name, on the top row so salesmen would have an easy demo.

    This also keeps co-workers off my console in the event I forget to lock it. What's even more amusing is to change someone else's layout to dvorak and be there when they get confused. I quickly ask them to show me and I type something in front of them. We go back and forth a few times and for a split second, I take amusement in that person questioning their own sanity.

  • Re:Known cure (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2008 @09:54AM (#23667453)
    How about playing instruments? I've been both an avid computer user and a piano player for years and never had any problems with my hands or arms. I can imagine that string instruments that require a lot of precision would help as well.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @11:40AM (#23668939)
    While I view Microsoft as evil, and frequently illegal, and frequently amoral, and wanting to get my money through lockin, oddly I do still feel that they care about my needs.

    They are like some sort of evil parent that loves you but doesn't want you to grow up and go out on your own life.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:47PM (#23671019)
    It's because RSI is the "Shell Shock" of the modern office worker. It has nothing to do with "ergonomics " or your nerves -- which is why people can have the nerves surgically removed, feel better, and then have a reoccurrence of the symptoms later on even though the nerves are gone.
      "Shell Shock" used to exhibit the same strange trait back when they tried to treat it as a physical disorder. These days, they call it "post-traumatics stress disorder" and treat it as the psychological illness that it is.

      Dutch workers are probably not as insanely overworked as American workers. (Over here, the employers have a "socialism for thee, but not for me" attitude. "C'mon, work harder! Great effort is needed to achieve the grand plan! Asking for fewer hours or more pay would be selfish of you! Hard work and sacrifice for your brothers in labor is good for people who aren't me. Okay, I'm going golfing.")

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead

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