Career Woman

The importance of ergonomics in the workplace

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It doesn’t matter if you are working your dream job or if you are stuck in one simply because you need something to do or a way to help pay the bills; you want to do your best. If you weren’t concerned about excelling in your career, you probably wouldn’t have landed on this article. Find out more about what ergonomics is and why it is so important to you in the workplace.

What is Ergonomics?

Before discovering more on the benefits of ergonomics and how to obtain it in your workplace, you first should have a clear picture of what it is. By definition, ergonomics is “the study of work.” That is a pretty broad statement, so understanding it scientifically may make a little bit more sense.

It is the process of making the job fit the person that is doing it instead of trying to make the person fit into the job. It can involve making changes to the physical requirements, the tools used, and other equipment necessary to complete the tasks required. The primary focus is to reduce the amount of stress an employee feels so that he or she can more effectively do their job.

What are the benefits of ergonomics in the workplace?

It’s evident to employers and employees that no two people are the same. That means that they aren’t going to reach the finish line the same way when it comes to their job duties. What is seemingly comfortable and simple for one person may be set up in a way that is extremely difficult for another. That’s why focusing on ergonomics is beneficial in the workplace.

By changing the job to fit the person, there are going to be fewer setbacks both physically and mentally. It will also result in a faster, higher-quality, and more efficient outcome for the leaders that are expecting to see performance out of their workers.

Here are a just a few of the benefits that are associated with superior ergonomics in position in at the office or any other work location:

  • Lower employee turnover rates
  • Happier employees
  • Higher production
  • A greater safety commitment

With back pain and musculoskeletal disorders being some of the top reasons why employees miss work, it’s clear that ergonomics is beneficial for both the worker and the employer.

Preventing injury with proper ergonomics

There are several conditions that can arise as a result of poor ergonomics. Some of them may require medical attention or other treatment if they are left alone without correction for too long. You can be susceptible to the following ailments:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Back injury, pain, and aches
  • Stiff neck
  • Sharp pain in your fingers “trigger finger”
  • Musculoskeletal disorders – carpal tunnel, tendinitis, rotator cuff injury

Each of these health conditions can cause you mild to severe discomforts not only while you are working, but after you leave the job site. Each can lead to poor production as well as days missed from work or a complete inability to perform your work tasks any longer period.

Are there disadvantages to ergonomics?

There are two main disadvantages when it comes to ergonomics. The first one is the cost. With the adaptations of tools and equipment, there is a price tag. Take the example of an office space for instance. To set everything up in an ergonomic fashion, there needs to be the following equipment, depending on the employee:

  • Keyboard
  • Desk
  • Chair
  • Telephone/headset

When a company or individual is only purchasing one of each of these items, there is no need to worry about the cost that much. When there is an entire office full of workers that require the adaptive equipment, it can add up quickly.

The cost is an investment. The employer can expect the increased productivity, more satisfied employees, fewer people leaving, and fewer injuries. Fewer employees will be off of work and making claims on insurance policies for work-related injuries which is going to pay for itself it just a short time.

The other problem with ergonomics is getting people to use them properly. After having the same tools and equipment to complete a job for so long, it can be challenging to switch to something different. It may take a little bit of time to get used to, but when the changes do happen, it’s going to be beneficial for everyone involved.

Tips and tricks for setting up your work area ergonomically

It’s pretty clear now that having a workspace set up ergonomically is important. Not only can you complete your job more efficiently, but you are also less likely to suffer back pain or other musculoskeletal problems as a result of trying to finish the work in an uncomfortable position.

Here are some quick and easy ways to make changes in your home or work office to help in becoming more ergonomic.

  1. Check your posture. Your posture has to be correct before you start building a workstation around it. The look and feel should be similar to that when you sit in your car. Your feet need to be flat on the floor, put your hands in your lap, relax your shoulders, and stick your buttocks behind you. This is the perfect position for comfort and ergonomics and your “natural position.”
  2. Position the mouse and keyboard. Now that you have your natural positioning, you can set your keyboard and mouse at an elevation and location so that your elbows stay at your sides and your arms are at a 90-degree angle or lower. That prevents straining of the muscles.
  3. Set up your computer screen. This one is easy. Sit down in your chair, reach your hand out, and your middle finger should touch the screen. That’s it! It keeps you from craning your neck from it being to close or straining when it’s too far away. Keep it at a height where your eyes naturally land on the internet search address bar.
  4. Evaluate your chair. You spend the most amount of time in your chair. Get an ergonomic one if you can. If you can’t, you should have one that is comfortable and allows you to sit in your natural position. Your feet should land on the floor and not dangle.

Bonus Tip: Get up and move! Along with setting up your work area, you need to take care of your body in other ways. Sitting in the same position for too long isn’t healthy no matter how well you are set up. You should walk around at least once an hour, even if it’s just a stretch behind your office chair.

Ask your managers and bosses if the company you are working for is going to be willing to put in the investment to make your workplace better for you. Let them know about the advantages and how it’s going to benefit the business in the long run. You could even share this article with them for a reference!

How seeing a chiropractor can help with ergonomics

Knowledgeable chiropractors in Wasilla, Alaska and all around the world are passionate about assisting their patients with reaching a point of overall health and well-being. They do that through a variety of ways including alignments and adjustments of the spine, massage therapy, nutrition counseling, and several other holistic tactics.

If you are having trouble getting your workplace set up ergonomically, a chiropractor can help in making the necessary changes to your body over the course of several visits so that you can get your spine and nervous system back to the highest level of functioning.

Besides just assisting you in repairing the damages that have already been done, a qualified chiropractor can also give you tips and tricks on how to make your workstation or job more ergonomically sound for pain-free future.

About Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998. He became passionate about being in the chiropractic field after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment. Dr. Wells is a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. He continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.

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