A fifth of hospitality and retail workers are reconsidering their future in their role as they say the length of time they spend on their feet is causing physical pain.
According to a survey, 79% of hospitality and retail staff spend four to 10 hours on their feet, with 34% spending eight to 10 hours standing.
This caused 45% to suffer foot pain before the pandemic, falling to 30% post-lockdown as workers welcomed the time off work to recover. However, just a few months since the hospitality and retail sectors reopened, 52% said they now experienced foot pain.
A quarter had taken time off work because of the physical impact of spending long hours on their feet, which 37% said had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of trade association UK Hospitality, said the industry was looking at ways to improve working conditions and hours, particularly as staff have become more demanding about what they want to do following a period of furlough.
“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,” she said.
The survey of 500 workers, commissioned by 3D printing company Materialise, also found that a third turned to painkillers to immediately ease discomfort, while 35% did not know how to alleviate the pain they suffered
Footwear had a significant impact on the likelihood and location of pain. Thirty-one percent of those wearing sandals and flip flops experienced back pain; while high heel wearers experienced the most ankle and neck pain (31% and 22% respectively).
Thirty-four per cent wore trainers to work, yet 47% of trainer wearers experienced foot pain.
George Cummins, director of gait and motion technology at Materialise, said: “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.
“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. Over half of hospitality and retail workers already experience foot pain after just a few months back at work and they would benefit from a solution which offers more comfort and bespoke support for their feet, day in and day out to minimise the risk of long-term health issues.”