With more and more people working on digital devices, computer related injuries are at an all-time high. Carpal tunnel syndrome is especially prevalent, as many hours spent typing causes injuries and swelling that narrows the carpal tunnel, located in the wrist. All that time spent sitting can also lead to painful back and neck injuries as well as a host of negative health effects, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, many of these issues are preventable, as long as you embrace the following tenets of ergonomics and adapted computing.
1) Train Employees on Proper Work Positions
Take a quick tour of your office (of any office, really), and you’re bound to see numerous people working in less than ideal ways. From slouching to keyboard pecking, there are countless ways for employees to injure themselves at work. And if you don’t teach them otherwise, you may eventually face workers’ compensation claims. As such, it’s important take the time to coach employees on proper sitting position: back straight up, feet flat on the floor, knees at a 45-degree angle. Also important is proper wrist position. Hands should float naturally over the keyboard, with no splaying to one side or the other. Bring in a professional ergonomist for the best results, and organize support groups amongst the employees to ensure everyone has the coaching they need to change up their strategies and adapt as needed.
2) Make Workspaces Fully Adjustable
Of course, while encouraging employees to change their behavior is essential, no behavioral changes will be fully effective unless they’re working on fully adjustable ergonomic equipment. We suggest an ergonomic keyboard and ergonomic mouse. The lesson here is simple: the more that equipment adapts to employees, the less those employees will have to adapt to the equipment. Working in awkward positions can strain employee’s muscles and joints. With greater comfort comes a far lower likelihood of injury, which can cut into productivity rates and can increase absenteeism.
3) Encourage Exercise at Work
Whether you provide an on-site gym or simply encourage more stretch breaks, encourage your employees to get up and move throughout the day. Doing so will prompt their muscles to move in new ways. Thereby this will combat the negative effects of repeating the same motions over and over again at work. It will also get the blood flowing to the muscles and the brain, increase metabolic rates, and release endorphins. Together, these benefits will keep employees’ brains sharp and moods high. Therefore, they can happily concentrate on the tasks at hand.
Taken together, these measures will not only help prevent computer related injuries, but they’ll also show employees that you’re committed to their health and well-being. If that’s not a recipe for employee loyalty, than we don’t know what is.