Whether you are working from home, working in an office, driving all day or standing up all day, having a correct setup is vital for your health. If you are having some aches and pains whilst working, it’s likely your setup is not correct.
What is Ergonomics?
Put simply, ergonomics involves marking workplaces, systems, and products more comfortable for the people that use them. It is an important part of an overall corporate wellness plan and implementing ergonomics within your workplace can make employees more comfortable, reduce injury and increase productivity.
Why is Ergonomics Important?
Ergonomics is important as whilst you are working if your body is in an awkward position or you continuously are repeating a movement it will cause the body to become stressed affecting your musculoskeletal system. Musculoskeletal disorders are conditions affecting your nerves, tendons, muscles, ligaments and joints.
Signs you need to improve your Ergonomic setup
1. Are you UNCOMFORTABLE?
One of the main and most obvious signs is if you are uncomfortable and find yourself constantly readjusting. Moving around is great however if you are constantly moving trying to find a comfortable position it’s likely you may need a new chair.
2. Are you experiencing PAIN?
Whilst working, an incorrect setup can cause pain in your lower back, pain in your wrist, and pain in your shoulders. This could also extend to muscle or joint tenderness, tingling in arms or numbness.
3. Has your pain become CHRONIC?
If you were experiencing infrequent pain that is now consistently present it’s likely your work setup is the cause. If you don’t make adjustments your injury will continue to be aggravated and will not get the time it needs to heal. At this point you may need to see a specialist, however try some of the adjustments below to avoid it from worsening.
4. Have you noticed you have BAD POSTURE?
Your body changes through time as does your posture, if you have realised it has started to slump and worsen this could be a result of hunching whilst working, Signs of negative postural changes also include pain in your shoulder, neck and back along with chronic headaches. If your workstation continues to stay the same you could experience a permanent negative change in your posture.
If you are starting to realise that some of the above resonates with you, try making some of the below adjustments to your workplace!
7 Steps to improve your posture and comfort working from a desk.
1. Ensure that the desk you sit at has enough space for your to sit or stand close to your computer or laptop.
2. Try and use a separate mouse and keyboard with your laptop.
3. Position your mouse and keyboard directly in front of you.
4. Adjust your laptop so the top of the screen is at the same level as your eyes. You can use a box, some reams of paper, or books to help raise the height of your screen, or alternatively can try using an additional monitor.
5. Try an adjustable chair if you are sitting and you can also add a rolled-up towel for additional lower back support. You can also use a cushion to raise the height of your seat if your chair is too low.
6. Try to maintain a good posture and that your shoulders are relaxed, the small of your back is supported and that there is no pressure on the back of your knees. If you choose to stand, then ensure you keep your neck, head, legs and torso in line and vertical so that you don’t lean, twist or slouch.
7. Change your posture every five minutes or so and take regular breaks from your computer or laptop. Staying hydrated throughout your day helps to keep you interrupting your seated hours as it will mean more trips to fill up your water … and more trips to the bathroom.
Once you have set up an ergonomically correct workstation, start to watch your symptoms decrease, your posture improve and comfort increase. Regular exercise and certain stretches will also assist in improving your health.
Depending on the severity of your injuries sustained as a result of a poor ergonomic setup you may need to seek further assistance and a treatment plan from an Ergonomic Specialist.
Safe Hands offer Ergonomics assessments within the workplace as part of our corporate wellness programs. If you would like to get in touch to discuss how we could help with this or any other aspect of your corporate wellness journey, please reach out.