Ergonomics at Work: How to Notice Warning Signs at your Office
We all spend a good portion of our lives at work, therefore it pays to have a workstation that doesn’t put undue strain on our muscles and joints. If you notice any of these warning signs, you should look into making positive changes in your workstation’s ergonomics.
• Your work consists of a single, repetitive task for long stretches of time.
Constantly using one group of muscles and joints while others go unmoved for long periods of time is detrimental to your health. Alternate tasks when you can and try to eliminate repetitive movements.
• The type of work you do is the biggest factor in how much activity you get during the day.
It cuts both ways. If your work is sedentary, you’re probably not getting enough movement and activity during the day. But if your work is active, you might be stressing your body too much. You’ll want to do what you can to vary your activity levels during the day. For example, take a walk during your break. Whatever you can do to change your routine.
• You aren’t comfortable at your workstation.
If something doesn’t feel right when you get to work, you shouldn’t ignore that. If you’re straining to reach things or craning your neck to see your monitors. See whether you can adjust your workstation to prevent discomfort.
• An infrequent pain has become chronic.
If there’s a neck, wrist, shoulder, or other pain that used to come infrequently and leave you alone for long stretches of time, but now shows up more frequently, or even daily, something is probably wrong with how you are positioned during most of your day.
• You hurt more while you are at work and less at home or on your days off.
You know it’s work that is causing your pain when the only time you really feel any relief is when you’re not working.
If you find that any (or all) of these are true for you, it’s definitely time to evaluate the ergonomics of your workstation and see if you can make any changes in your habits or the equipment that you use to make your work more comfortable.