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Every year is a promise and an opportunity to improve ourselves, including our productivity in our work. There is a need and urge to improve our work consistently, and this is true across all industries. The more output and results we could produce, the sweeter the satisfaction is at the end of the day.
But working towards productivity is not easy. There are so many challenges and pain points (sometimes literally) that might stop us from doing the best that we can. It could be keeping yourself focused until you could finish a task. Or it could also be your eyes hurting after working for five hours straight. Or worse, it could be the back pain you’ve been enduring for a few years now. Suddenly, you had to take a sick day off, and that’s one whole day wasted.
One of the many ways to improve productivity is incorporating workplace ergonomics. Ergonomics is the process of fitting the design of a space or equipment to the user to maximize productivity. It may sound fancy, but the concept of ergonomics is very simple and sensible.
Is your wrist hurting from your desk that is too low? Workplace ergonomics would suggest you use a table that is more comfortable and height adjusted for you. Does your back hurt from working an eight-hour shift? A comfortable high-back chair that supports the spine could make you feel like the day went by in a breeze.
These tiny little ways suggested by the concept of ergonomics have significant effects on overall workplace productivity. You will be hitting those yearly goals that you’ve set for yourself before you know it.
Studies show that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), or the pains in our muscles and joints, are among the world’s most common work-related injuries. Perhaps it isn’t as dramatic as falling off a height or sustaining a wound from your workplace, but back pains and stiff necks are injuries that had to be taken seriously all the same.
MSDs, particularly lower back pain, rank as one of the top causes of absenteeism in the workplace. About 9.5 million working hours are lost due to MSD-related absenteeism. Imagine all the work that you could have done in those 9.5 million operating hours.
Workplace ergonomics addresses office-related issues that cause MSD. A proper assessment of the workplace is done to identify the pain points one meets in the workplace and create a tailor-fit solution to these problems. In general, workplace ergonomics make your workstation and environment work for you.
So how do we start incorporating workplace ergonomics? We have listed some simple yet highly effective workplace ergonomics tips and tricks you can incorporate at work.
Before doing anything else, take a look at your workstation. Ask yourself how your usual work process goes and how your current workstation affects your way of working.
Do you strain yourself reaching for documents or the phone? Does your monitor height match your line of vision? Perhaps you could do better with more space by reducing clutter.
Find out the pain points you have in your current workplace and go through them one by one.
If you are primarily working on a desk, one of the simplest ways to incorporate workplace ergonomics is to arrange your desk according to your body. Keep the things you will need most throughout the day close to you. It could be the telephone or your laptop. Make sure the documents you will need are within an arm’s length to you so you wouldn’t strain yourself as you reach them.
If you have limited working space, this article on how to make an ergonomic workspace with less is good supplementary reading.
Not all office equipment and stationery are made to fit everyone. The standard office mouse is made with right-handed users in mind. If you are a left-handed person, this kind of mouse might put unnecessary strain on your wrist. Find ergonomic equipment which you can use instead of the standard-issue ones. Using properly-fitted equipment helps decrease the chances of making mistakes in the workplace and consequently improves productivity.
How do you choose the perfect ergonomic chair for you? It’s simple. Make sure you select a chair that offers lumbar support for your back and has adjustable settings for height, armrests, and seat pan depth setting. A good chair height allows for your feet to rest on the ground. If not, you could look into adding footrests into your chair.
Checking out the perfect ergonomic chair for you is not the end, though. Make sure you sit correctly so your backrests easy throughout the day.
Arranging your monitor the proper way could lower the risk of getting eye strain. Check if your monitor is at eye level when you are sitting correctly in your chair. This is to reduce the strain on your neck when you are looking into the monitor. Keep it comfortably away from your body; an arm’s length away is advised.
Slouching puts an unnecessary strain on your lower back, among other bad health side effects. To avoid slouching, make sure your chair and table are at the perfect height for your body. Some of us have longer upper bodies, so a higher table might be more comfortable for us. It also helps to stand up now and then habitually. A programmable standing desk could be something that could help you work more comfortably. Once your body is comfortable, it will be easier for you to work smoothly and more efficiently.
Taking quick breaks every once in a while contributes to your productivity in the long run. When you allow your body to rest, your mind gets refreshed, too. You could get more done and with higher accuracy after getting some rest.
In a nutshell, workplace ergonomics is simply making your working space comfortable enough for you. It takes away the clutter and strain, leaving you with a work area that is best-fitted for your body. We could do more work and make fewer mistakes when our bodies are working in a prime state. We could focus more on the task at hand and use our precious time doing productive work.