Workspace ergonomics can make a big difference when it comes to your productivity and comfort at work. The most common reason people get up from their seat at work is not to take a bathroom break, but because of pain and/or discomfort. The best outcomes, are a result of improving your environment and improving yourself to better fit the environment.
First, let’s look at the workspace environment. For the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on the office worker and the office workstation. There are 3 key objects to consider within the modern workstation:
- The computer monitor/screen
- The desk/worksurface
- The chair
As long as two of these 3 elements are adjustable, you’ll be able to overcome positioning and proper setup issues. If only one, or none are adjustable you’ll have an ergonomics issue. Additional environmental factors to consider besides the big 3 above, are:
- Distractions: people, social media, email, etc.
- Proximity to commonly used items: phone, files, stationary, etc.
Now, let’s consider you, the human factor in this equation. Your work performance and productivity will be affected by the following:
- Posture habits – poor posture is related to the most common workplace musculoskeletal pain complaints.
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Lower back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Level of physical fitness – improved physical fitness leads to focus and endurance in the workplace
- Pre-existing pain conditions – unaddressed physical conditions can significantly impact workplace performance.
- Visual acuity – uncorrected vision will cause postural distortions while working
- Nutrition – improved nutrition leads to improved focus, endurance, and decreased stress
- Hydration – once our bodies reach 4% dehydration, we experience a 20-30% decrease in work capacity! The benefits of proper hydration also results in improved joint lubrication, temperature regulation, and transportation of nutrients and toxins in and out of the body.
- Stress coping skills – not having proper stress coping tools and skills will limit your ability to thrive in the workplace. Breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness training are just a few examples of the many proven tools and skills that will help you have an awesome day at work.
- Work habits and behaviors – we are what we do, repeatedly.
- Adequate sleep – A good night’s sleep will improve your mood, making you sharper and more optimistic at work. Inadequate sleep has been linked to costly, but otherwise preventable workplace accidents. Not getting enough sleep leads to poor judgement and decision making in the workplace.
At the Center for Musculoskeletal Function in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, we believe in overcoming the root-cause of your pain and supporting your musculoskeletal system at work, sport, and daily life. Dr. Daniel Yinh is a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist and can help you and your co-workers have an awesome day at work, while at the same time staying healthy, productive, and safe.
If you’d like to book Dr. Yinh for a lecture series, contact us at [email protected] or 561-318-8070 for more details.