The business world has changed. We are no longer content with working 9-to-5 from a windowless office, doing the same thing with the same people day in and day out. We like to work from anywhere, use technology, collaborate with different teams, and be social.
To that end, our ergonomic office chair and gel mouse pad are no longer adequate for protecting us from injury, empowering our productivity, and ensuring our health and well-being.
Enter: active ergonomics
When we commit to the bigger ergonomic picture, we assess and evaluate posture, habits, and workspaces – both the traditional and the innovative. We don’t focus only on fitting the workspace to the person; we find ways to make life better for people, too.
Through active ergonomics, we help lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity, and reduce the number and severity of work-related MSDs.
Statistics show that many people spend 8 hours a day sitting at work, and combined with their home life, that can amount to be 14 hours per day. We definitely are in need of some positive behavior changes.
Active behavior changes
It has been said that sitting is the new smoking. The bad habit that is killing us. If only there were patches we could stick on our arms to trick our addiction to sitting, like there are for nicotine.
Alas, to sit less, we must make a conscious effort.
We recommend sit-stand desks that give you the flexibility to work while sitting or standing (talk about multi-tasking for your health!). With a push of a button, you can adapt to any position and any situation.
We also recommend frequent breaks, stretches, and exercise (even ones you can do at your desk).
Make a habit of standing up while you are on the phone, taking a brisk walk around the office at the top of each hour, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
When you stand, do so on an anti-fatigue mat for the best results – it will be easier on your feet, knees and hips.
When you must sit, sit better.
More workers are suffering from more backaches and stiffness, shoulder fatigue and leg cramping. Much of this can be alleviated by investing in active ergonomics.
That is, invest in a high-quality ergonomic chair that is fully adjustable and will help you stay positively postured. However, be warned: buying a chair is just one step. You also must adjust it to suit your body type and make other changes to suit your work areas: home office, kitchen nook, dining room table, or loft. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed as you work. If they are not, you may need to balance the height between your desk and your chair. Elbows should be bent at 90 degrees, and feet should be flat on the ground (or on an adjustable foot rest like this one).
Accessorizing isn’t just for fashionistas (though, who doesn’t love a great pair of shoes?). There are great accessories that can help you use the tools you need while caring for your health and well-being. For example, if your monitor is not situated at the right height for your eyes, you could suffer from neck pain. Or if you use dual screens, you need to make sure they are set up correctly. A monitor arm is a handy (excuse the pun) accessory to help you use one of the tools you likely use most – your monitor.
If you work with a lot of documents, an ergonomic document holder can keep you from constantly looking down. Your neck and shoulders will thank you.
A lumbar back support cushion will deliver maximum comfort and support. It can be used in the office, in the car, at home, or in a café – wherever you choose to work.
An anti-glare screen with privacy protection will protect your eyes as well as your secrets from others’ prying eyes. This will help you with headaches and dry, tired eyes.
You are probably very good at your business. Whether you are in the medical field, technology field, or make gadgets and doodads for a living, chances are you consult a lot of professionals. You don’t do your own oil changes, you don’t cut your own hair, and you didn’t build your home with your own two hands. When something is important to you, you consult an expert (and what’s more important than a good hairstylist?).
When it comes to ergonomics, you should seek counsel. Get an ergonomic evaluation of your current workspace, posture, and habits from Kare Products – you will be glad you did!
About Karen Burke
Karen is the founder and president of Kare Products, specializing in active ergonomic solutions. She has 30 years experience in ergonomic product design and consulting.