Workstation ergonomics is a great way to help your team members avoid pain when implemented correctly, however I have found that it leaves out at least two thirds of the total solution that is necessary for productive and pain free employees.
In this article I’m going to dive into the details of correct workstation set up so that the one third is covered and taken care of then I’m going to show you in detail how the second third; posture and its key components is key and why the third element; lifestyle and awareness is also vital to get a holistic view and real solution to your staffs pain and discomfort.
1st third of workstation ergonomics puzzle
This is the nuts and bolts part of getting your employees set up correctly so they don’t end up clocking up huge medical bills and send your medical insurance premiums through the roof.
The key points to remember here are that your upper legs should be at 90 degrees to your lower legs, that your arms should be at 90 degrees and that your monitor should be at or slightly below seated eye level.
There are certain things you can purchase to modify these elements if they are out of balance, for example a monitor arm can be used to change the height of your monitor or a keyboard tray can be used to change the height of your keyboard.
How about considering a desk that can be raised so you can stand at work stimulating your nervous system and the pain associated with sitting for long periods.
Or even funkier, how about using a fit ball as a chair this will:
Keep your nervous system constantly activated; your muscles won’t shut down 8 minutes after slouching in a chair like they do when you are sitting with your back rested on a chair.
Help you burn more calories each day.
If you are worried about correct desk ergonomics/sitting position in the office then using a fit ball will also mean you are unlikely to slouch forward or lean back too far which over time is very dangerous.
Sitting on a fit ball at work can also improve your digestion as your core is working which stimulates peristalsis, the pumping of the digestive system.
Improve the muscle tone in your core muscles and all of the associated muscles that hold your body in the correct sitting position, remember even standing takes 101 muscles so imagine how many muscles you are activating on a fit ball.
Part 2: One of the missing thirds
art 2 is all about how to fix the missing elements in terms of the physical body. You can get a perfect desk set up and ergonomics assessment from the best expert in the world but no matter what you do if you have poor flexibility in the spine for example and your spine is forced into a slouched position what good is it going to do?
These are the key elements to posture that you need to be aware of and fix if they are a problem so you can avoid pain and be 100% productive;
1. Spinal Flexibility (use the exercise below to increase this if you feel you have a tight spine) Start below the belly button and work up to a point just before the head is resting on the foam roller. Spend 30 seconds in each position; move up toward the head by only 1 cm each time.
2. Muscle flexibility. If the muscles on the front of your upper body are tight then sitting or standing with good posture will be nearly impossible. Try this stretch to improve the flexibility of the muscles of the chest, do it for 30 seconds 3 x per day:
3. Awareness. Use the string attached to the top of the head trick 20 times a day for 20 days so that awareness of the correct posture becomes a habit. (just imagine there is a piece of string attached to the top of your head and it is pulling you to the sky, you are then in a position where your shoulders are back, your head is upright and your chest is up which is great) To remind you of the correct posture here is a picture:
4. Strength. Use the exercise below to strengthen the muscles on the back of the body. There are lots of muscles involved in good posture, even those on the front of the body but I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible so if you have forward head posture then do this for 20 seconds with a 10 second between rest 4 times each day:
5. Non-inhibited muscles. Having knots in muscles can make certain parts of your musculoskeletal system shut down; basically they will stop muscles working properly. Use the tennis ball as shown below to massage out these points:
The third part, Holistic Health
Holistic health is often the missing key, whether it’s a person having problems losing body fat or relieving pain in the musculoskeletal system.
If for example you have a great desk set up, great spinal flexibility, all of the awareness in the world of correct posture, great muscle flexibility, non inhibited muscles and great strength but a terrible diet and lifestyle where you sleep late and wake up exhausted how in the world do you think you can sit properly at a desk? It just won’t happen.
I hope I have demonstrated how there are many pieces to the desk ergonomics picture and how they all fit together, if you want to know more then please get in touch for a free consultation.
Our corporate health programs will make a huge difference in your company but only if you contact me:)
Corporate Wellness Co.