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What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the study of how people fit in their work environment.

Why is Ergonomics Important?

Ergonomic improvements are specific to the worker and their demands upon their body. The ergonomic demands of an office worker vary significantly from a manual job such as a laborer. An employee may be fit or physically capable of one occupation and not another. That's the basic point, we're all different shapes and sizes and our workplace setup and practices can vary on an individual basis. This is where an ergonomic assessment for the individual worker is important.

Office Ergonomics

Office ergonomics don't necessarily need to involve expensive ergonomic chairs, mouse, workstation products, tools or desks. Ergonomics in the office can usually combine an ergonomic assessment and set up along with helpful preventative ergonomic advice.

It is often not what we are sitting upon or standing at, but rather how we hold our body or perform the tasks that cause a workplace injury.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) have been identified by the World Health Organization as a wide range of, “inflammatory and degenerative disease conditions that can result in pain and functional impairment affecting the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands” (Boudreau Wright, 2003). Workers who have a high work strain, longer mouse and keyboard use, perceived high muscle tension and previous musculoskeletal disorders in the neck and shoulders have a greater risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (Mahmun et al, 2011).

Assessing workstation and fixing any abnormalities results in an increase in employee productivity while preventing worker injuries and discomfort.

Advice about correct trunk posture can improve your spine, head and neck alignment that results in less fatigue when sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time. Often a simple product will assist or remind you how to position yourself in your work or home environment.

Tips and Exercise to prevent the musculoskeletal condition

Here are some quick and easy stretches that you can incorporate into your daily walking break. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds for maximal relief. Once you have made yourself comfortable on the chair, make sure to adjust the height where feet are resting on the floor or on the footrest. Arms should rest parallel on the desk making sure elbow and wrist are in line. Avoid hitching from shoulders. Sit back comfortably and rest backrest into a neural recline position (100deg hip flexion).

Looking ahead at your screen, make sure that the monitor is positioned an arm’s reach away, or a comfortable visual distance. Your visual gaze should fall to the top third of the screen to maintain a neutral neck position. If you are wearing multifocal glasses, the screen needs to be lowered.

A correct keyboard and mouse configuration is imperative. Make sure to position these two items approximately 20cm from the edge of the desk to avoid overreaching.

Taking adequate movement breaks throughout the day can promote better health, and guidelines encourage a minute break every 30 – 60 minutes.

For further advice on workstation assessment and physiotherapy sessions. You may contact us by visiting our website or visit our nearest outlet to your place (Post-MCO) that can provide you with the optimal knowledge to set up your workstation and guided exercises.

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