Fellowes: Emma Work Colleague of the Future

Fellowes asked us to drive mass awareness of workspace health and wellbeing, educating employers and employees alike that adopting ergonomic workspace solutions offers a proactive approach to workplace health. All office workers know that desk jobs are bad for their health, but like smoking, knowing isn’t enough to change bad habits. We needed a shock from the future to bring Fellowes’ workplace health warning to life. Say hello to Emma. Our work colleague of the future. She’s a horrifying glimpse of our future poor health based on current office working practices.

We worked with Behavioural Futurist, William Higham and a panel of experts in ergonomics and occupational health, to research the effects workspace environments are having on office workers’ health. The Fellowes ‘Future Work Colleague Report’ highlighted how current working habits can affect our health and that certain behaviours and problems, if left unchecked, will leave the majority of office workers with permanently bent backs and a huge range of health problems by 2040.

The range of health problems were shocking in themselves, but we knew we needed a ‘wake up call’ activation to ensure the story gained wide-reaching media attention and that our target audience really sat up (straight) and took notice. We created Emma as a horrifying glimpse of how body could change in 20 years time, physically and visually, if we don’t take our health seriously and change the way we work – hunchbacks, varicose veins, bloodshot eyes, becoming overweight and repetitive strain injury. We then set about leveraging our global workplace health warning cross Europe’s broadcast, nationals, consumer titles, trades, healthcare, HR and more.


Within 24-hours Emma became a worldwide cultural phenomenon, a meme and TV star all driving unprecedented enquiries for Fellowes.

We secured 650 pieces of international coverage across 66 countries including 100s of major titles, No1 Apple News trending story, breaking news on Sky News app, considerable broadcast reach including all major US TV networks, Bloomberg TV and Reuters TVUK and UK hits such as the Mail Online, BBC World News, London Live, Metro and Channel Five.  Emma even transcended into popular culture starring alongside Jonathan Ross on his chat show and was created into memes. All driving a reach of 79BN, 1m organic video views and a 155% increase in web traffic and enquiries for Fellowes.