Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits
Ergonomics is a wellness principle that helps an individual interact with their environment in a sustainable way to promote joint and musculoskeletal health. The goal of ergonomics is to increase efficiency and productivity while reducing long-term damage or injury.
Think about the height of a desk, seat adjustments in a car, the wavy design of a keyboard, or even the location of skylights and windows. These are all examples that showcase ergonomics within the workplace. Most full-time employees spend between 40-60 hours per week at work. Whether that be typing on a keyboard, driving a truck, or standing at a counter, working shouldn’t be a source of pain or injury.
Continue reading for tips on how to decrease workplace musculoskeletal related pain and injuries.
Customize Your Workstation
Having a comfortable workspace is one step towards feeling your overall best. If you work at a desk, adjust your chair height so your elbows are at desktop level and your feet can comfortably reach the floor. Adjust the height of your computer monitor so the top of the screen is at or below eye level and make proper keyboard and mouse adjustments so your wrists are straight.
If you sit for long periods of time, in a vehicle or at a desk, consider a lumbar support pillow to provide proper back support.
If your work requires lifting heavy objects, explore this link to calculate a recommended weight limit.
Good posture is important for balance. It is critical for simple day-to-day movements, such as lifting groceries overhead, staying steady on icy surfaces, or walking up and down flights of stairs. People often tend to sit hunched, and they don’t take breaks as often as they should to allow for movement throughout the day. A common complaint after spending a day like this is neck, back, hip, or shoulder pain.
To avoid getting into this habit, start by keeping your joints aligned or at a right angle and your head in line with the shoulders. Sit up straight and distribute weight evenly throughout your body.
Try these exercises to improve your posture.
Stretching and moving throughout the day can help ease pain or stiffness for individuals working in all types of jobs. If working at a desk, it is recommended you move at least two minutes, for every thirty minutes spent deskbound. Make an effort to regularly release tension in your shoulders and chest. Take moments throughout the day to breathe deeply and check in with your body positioning and mechanics.
Balance Sit-Stand Work Habits
Taking breaks from repetitive movements is crucial to avoid pain or injury. This includes sitting for long periods of time. If possible, find a balance between sitting and standing while working. Standing while working can boost productivity by 42% and minimize lower back pain. If standing isn’t ideal for your type of work, incorporate a variety of movements throughout the day to give your body proper rest.
Incorporating these small changes can greatly reduce the risk of musculoskeletal related pain and injuries. Try making a few of these adjustments to improve your daily workplace habits!