Ergonomics?

We all have heard about ergonomics, specially at our work space, but what is it exactly? It is the science of fitting a workplace to the user’s needs, ergonomics aims to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce discomfort. The use of technology, like computers, tablets etc has greatly increased the need for ergonomics. Desks, chairs, monitors, keyboards and lighting all need to be assessed when creating a workspace. We have seen standing desk, or even treadmill desks, aiming to improve the function and help the body instead of been sitting in the same position for 8 + hours. They intend to reduce work related micro injuries like the famous Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You can access the DCD webpage for more info:ERGONOMICS AND MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS.

To achieve best practice design, Ergonomists use the data and techniques of several disciplines:

  • anthropometry: body sizes, shapes; populations and variations
  • biomechanics: muscles, levers, forces, strength
  • environmental physics: noise, light, heat, cold, radiation, vibration body systems: hearing, vision, sensations
  • applied psychology: skill, learning, errors, differences
  • social psychology: groups, communication, learning, behaviours.

Ergonomics are not only for workspaces, but for now that is what I am writing here. According to OSHA: “Implementing ergonomic solutions can make employees more comfortable and increase productivity. Why is ergonomics important? Ergonomics is important because when you’re doing a job and your body is stressed by an awkward posture, extreme temperature, or repeated movement your musculoskeletal system is affected.

It will be great if you get a standing desk etc but if for now it is not possible there are other ways you can improve your work space. For example changing the mouse side (it takes some coordination if you do it with the left hand ha!) also changing monitor position once in a while, getting some lumbar support for your chair. Using books or some desk adapters to add height to your monitor, standing and doing some walking, maybe using a yoga ball (careful with balance, it also helps with abs) stretching a couple of times. There are plenty of exercises, videos and ideas in the internet you can browse. Also nowadays more places are bringing more ergonomics desk, chairs, keyboards and at reasonable prices (one of my coworkers found an awesome ergonomic keyboard at the Thrift Store…new!)

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