Emma, the Office Worker of the Future, Seems Very Friendly

News items about Emma, a predictive model of how humans’ bodies might adapt to the sedentary nature of office work, are unnecessarily and cruelly focused on her dowager’s hump, swollen joints, and bloodshot eyes. But look at that outstretched hand and bright smile. Emma is a team player, and I like her.

Emma is a model based on the results of a report called “The Work Colleague Of The Future,” which surveyed 3,003 office workers from France, Germany, and the U.K. The survey found that 5o percent of respondents suffered from sore eyes, 49 percent from backaches, and 48 percent from headaches, all most likely the result of spending six hours a day in a chair staring at screens. Other complaints included weight gain and vision issues. Researchers built Emma based on an amalgamation of all the body gripes listed by office employees as a representation of what too much sitting and not enough milling about does to a body over a span of 20 years.

But instead of focusing on the negatives, can we instead focus on Emma’s practical-yet-stylish Mary Janes, her shiny hair, or her obviously genial nature? We’re being awfully hard on Emma, who is obviously an invaluable addition to the team.

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DISCUSSION

Researchers built Emma based on an amalgamation of all the body gripes listed by office employees as a representation of what too much sitting and not enough milling about does to a body over a span of 20 years.

So, we build a mannequin of what a woman would very normally usually look like in her 40s, with some deliberately/creepily exaggerated features, after working for 20 years, and then place half the blame on her for not doing her part during her young professional career of taking care of herself in an increasingly “work to the bones” workplace society that chastises people for taking the breaks that help prevent this kind of stuff.