Working in any environment can come with a predefined level of stress, especially working in a customer-facing role. We all enjoy those daily interactions, sessions of small talk, and moments of tiny interaction that make our day a little less dull, but sometimes those moments can be less than pleasant and create a cloudy layer of stress that threatens to invade our internal peace. If you distaste working with people, then those moments can be hectic and overwhelming; and if you enjoy working with people, they can be a point of annoyance. We are unable to control how someone else is going to act in any given situation, all we can do is control the way we react to adult tantrums. We may be unable to control the emotional stress that attempts to enter our bubble, but we can protect our bodies by controlling the physical stress we encounter in our daily work environment. Workplace ergonomics is a positive step in the right direction to protect our long-term wellness. At RxWellness Tysons, we can help you understand the correct body mechanics and positions that work best overtime.
What is Workplace Ergonomics?
Workplace ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in the workplace. That means working with equipment that allows you to maintain your body’s natural position and avoid constant strain. This avoids unnecessary pressure that can contribute to repetitive strain injuries. Each workplace is different, and the correct equipment required for optimization will be different. For example, if your job requires that you spend a lot of time using a mouse, then a vertical mouse (below) would be a good option for you. Unlike a traditional mouse, a vertical mouse allows you to keep your hand in its natural state with your wrist and elbows in the neutral position and your shoulders relaxed. This can alleviate stress on very specific areas and protect your arms from developing pain later down the road.
Every workplace is different, and the type of tools an employee needs will depend on the work they do. If the job requires lifting heavy boxes all day, then having a back brace would make the most sense because it would provide you with much-needed back support and stabilization that can act as great preventative care. Not only would having the correct back support protect you from strain but knowing the correct lifting techniques would act as effective preventative care for maintaining a healthy back. In a workplace environment that requires daily lifting, the employer should make sure all their employees are properly equipped with appropriate back support and trained on how to protect their back with proper lifting techniques.
Benefits of Ergonomics in the Workplace
Implementing workplace ergonomics has been shown to improve productivity by 25%, reduce errors by 67%, and reduce employee turnover rate by 48%. Employees also feel better working for a company when they believe the company values their wellbeing.
Implementing Ergonomics in the Workplace
Sometimes management may be unaware of daily problems affecting employees, so there needs to be constant communication between both departments to ensure long-term employee satisfaction. Employers should make it their top priority to be attuned to the physical needs and demands of the positions within their company so they can have the correct equipment to offset the physical stress of the job. Sometimes, however, since management is often not responsible for completing the daily task of their employees, they may be unaware of the demands of the position. In such cases, it is up to the employee to communicate the stress that comes with their role, and it is up to management to create an environment where employees can feel comfortable expressing their discomfort and needs for improvement.
Types of Ergonomic Equipment
Document stand: if you work in data entry and have to look down at sheets of papers, then it can create tension in your muscles from constantly having to curve your neck. A document stand (below) would allow you to place the document upright or at level with the monitor so you can simply turn your head from monitor to sheet instead of looking up and down.
Natural Ergonomic Keyboard(below): this is perfect if you do a lot of typing. Ergonomic keyboards are designed like a split V to accommodate the natural placement of the right and left hands. They minimize muscle strain on the hands and forearm by supporting the neutral position of the hands. They also allow for faster typing.
Mousepad with wrist rest: are perfect for people who use a mouse daily. The wrist pad supports the wrist and prevents pinching of muscles and holds the hand in the proper position for efficient mouse movement.
There are many different types of workplace ergonomic tools that can be implemented into the workplace, and the best place to start is by talking with the employees and understanding how to make their daily task easier.
Long Term Benefits of Using the Correct Equipment
Having the proper equipment design can make a major difference in employee daily health and overall wellness. For example, someone who spends a lot of time sitting down may develop lower back problems or sciatica if they are not utilizing the correct ergonomic equipment. This means that using the wrong chair can create a scenario where the employee sitting in the chair will experience long-term lower back pain. If you combine no lower back support with poor posture this only creates a future where employees will eventually seek chiropractic care for the constant pain that resulted from a lack of workplace ergonomic. Investing in something like a knee chair (below) can help employees maintain good posture and protect their backs in the long run.
Employees need to work in an environment where they know their health and wellness are valued. Workplace ergonomics not only lets employees know you care about their wellbeing, but it also takes positive steps to protect them from the discomfort or pain that can develop from using equipment that goes against the natural movements of their body. It’s important for long term wellness, and when employees are in an environment where their needs are satisfied, they are more likely to stay and grow with the company
At RxWellness Spine & Health, we believe that your health is your most valuable asset and you are responsible for doing everything within your power to maintain it. It is much easier to stay healthy than to heal an injury. Oftentimes, some of the most common injuries come from consistently overusing the same body part or muscle group, so making sure you use them correctly could save you from years of discomfort. If you have any questions about how to properly introduce ergonomics into the workplace would like to book a consultation to learn about better body mechanics, give us a call at (571) 348-1540 or book an appointment online. We are located at 8609 Westwood Center Dr, Suite 620, Vienna, VA 22182.