04 November 2019 | Martin Read
Martin Read critiques an absurd prediction of the future office worker.
Last month a life-sized human doll named Emma briefly made headlines. Emma was meant as the physical embodiment of an absurd future as suggested in an absurd story claiming we humans were set to evolve hunched backs, varicose veins and protruding stomachs unless established ways of office working weren't put into reverse.
Oh yes, and one more thing: This would all happen within 20 years. I mean, what the hell? To use the same cartoonish perspective as the report's authors, 1999 was when the band Coldplay came to prominence. If their sound hasn't managed to evolve over the past 20 years, what possible chance the human spine?
Look, there's obvious merit in the underlying message. Physical movement is, of course, good. Furthermore, no one's likely to think that a world of cold, quiet offices with Olympic levels of just-staring-at-screens is any kind of recipe for physical wellbeing. But focusing on the mental rather than physical impacts of modern office working would have generated a more substantial story.
We often detail the results of research, but we check it. This particular story, though tied to a wider truth, failed a basic test of physical possibility.
Who falls for this stuff? Actually, several major media outlets did. This despite the broad message being nothing even remotely new: That you should consider taking a break once in a while; that you shouldn't just sit there, and that once in a while you should go out and get some fresh air. All perfectly sensible but, let's face it, time-honoured advice.
Let's move on. This edition of the magazine is our annual IWFM Awards special, and you'll find plenty of pages detailing the many successes in the pages ahead. But just this once, please permit me to also mention another group of worthy winners - the team of stars that puts Facilitate together every day of every month. Recently we won Best Magazine for an audience of 10,000 to 32,000 readers at the Association Excellence Awards. It's great to be able to report this and to highlight that, as you may expect, it's very much a team effort. Regular readers may know Herpreet and Brad by their bylines, but our colleagues in design, digital, sales and production are just integral to our success. You'll see all of their names listed on page 66.
Martin Read is editor of Facilitate Magazine