The topic of ergonomics in the workplace is a hugely important one. The discipline of workplace ergonomics consists of all concerns related to the execution of work duties in an ergonomically correct fashion. When we say “ergonomically correct,” we mean doing things in a manner that does not cause undue discomfort, fatigue, or stress to any area of the body.
While the need for physical labor in the modern workplace has been drastically reduced over time, it is still important to understand the concept of ergonomics and how to perform your tasks in a way that does not contribute to the development of chronic pain or other physical problems.
Ergonomics in the workplace – computer ergonomics
It’s very important to be able to work ergonomically with a computer in the modern workplace, mainly because the computer is now the primary work tool for many people. Unfortunately, there are many potential hazards presented by prolonged computer work. These include, but are not limited to: hand and wrist problems from typing and mouse operation; vision problems; and shoulder, arm, or back problems from improper seating
Ergonomics in the workplace – things you can do
One of the simplest yet most effective things you can add to your routine in order to improve ergonomics and prevent the development of discomfort or other physical problems is stretching. With a 5-10 minute break every hour for stretching, you can make a big difference in your overall work experience and physical condition.
Regardless of the type of work you do, it’s usually a good idea to do some stretches for the hands, wrists, neck, back, and legs. The stretches don’t have to be anything too elaborate. Simple types of stretching such as leg lifts and shoulder shrugs are more than adequate. For the wrists, simply grasp the fingers of one hand with the other hand and bend your wrist up slowly and steadily, not tugging, until you feel a stretch, then hold in that position for a few seconds, and relax. This type of stretching will help make your computer work more pleasant and less taxing.
Ergonomics in the workplace – proper seating
Ergonomic equipment can help to significantly improve your comfort in the workplace. The piece of equipment that has the largest impact in this respect is an ergonomic office chair. Ergonomic chairs are important because we spend the majority of our time at work in a sitting position. Prolonged sitting in a non-ergonomic chair can lead to all kinds of physical problems.
Ergonomic chairs work because they are designed to provide optimal support to the user regardless of the user’s body type, preferred sitting positions, and required work tasks. By supporting the body, the chair ensures that no part of the body is subject to excess stress or strain, and this prevents the development of pain over the longer term.
Of all the things you can do to improve your ergonomic situation at home or at work, investing in a quality ergonomic chair is perhaps the most effective. The investment is a worthwhile one when you consider the benefits that you can receive with respect to productivity and quality of life.