That’s according to research commissioned by 3D printing specialist Materialise, which found that the pandemic has caused staff to re-examine the physical toll of being on their feet day in, day out.
The study shows the majority of retail and hospitality workers (79%) spend four to ten hours of their shift on their feet. Over a third (34%) spend between eight and ten hours upright.
This extended time standing up and walking around caused 45% of hospitality and retail workers to feel physical pain before the start of lockdown.
The lockdown period, during which many hospitality and retail workers on furlough, brought relief with 30% of staffers reporting pain at the end of the lockdown.
However, after just a few months of being back at work, some physical pain is already higher than pre-pandemic levels, with over half of employees, 52%, experiencing foot pain, up 11% from early 2020.
The impact of working upright all day has kept 24% of employees off work and over a third (37%) report a negative impact on their mental wellbeing, while four in ten admitted the quality of their work has suffered for the same reason.
Materialise believes properly addressing on-the-job pain will help ease the hospitality sector's well-documented skills crisis.
“Feet take the brunt force of our day-to-day activity and support our entire body. Often the pain we experience elsewhere in our body; from knee, hip, back and neck pain, stems from insufficient control of our feet,” says Materialise’s director of gait and motion technology George Cummins.
“Many people are unaware that supporting their feet correctly could solve a whole host of issues they have and allow them to move pain free.”
“Covid-19 is providing the hospitality sector with a reset moment and we are looking at ways of working, hours and conditions. As people come back from furlough they are more selective about what they want to do and more demanding as employees,” says UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls.
“It’s about making sure that we look after our people because they are our most valued and valuable resource and we need to make sure that they can be as comfortable as possible at work”.