By now most of us are used to hearing the word ‘ergonomics’, whether applied to the workplace, home or even transportation. And we have at the very least a solid understanding of what is meant when someone used the term.
But from our experience, people often put a spin on what ergonomics means, whether because of a previous experience, being exposed to wrong information or interpreting what it is incorrectly. And in doing so they turn ergonomics from a very positive thing for people into something that people are either too scared or set in their ways to even explore. So to help dispel any rumors and give you a glimpse as to why we are so passionate about ergonomics…
Here is a guide as to what ergonomics is not:
First and foremost it is not a fad. Ergonomics is a term that has been around for over a century. It has gained a tremendous amount of momentum over the past two decades. It has scientifically proven benefits, especially for anyone who works with electronics.
Ergonomics is not only for people in pain or who have a repetitive stress injury (RSI). If someone does have pain or an injury, the proper set-up of their workstation should be one of the first things that is looked at. But building yourself an ergonomic workstation before you feel any pain can prevent injuries that can have lifetime impacts. Plus, studies have shown that those with ergonomic workstations are more productive.
It is also not just for those who type away on a keyboard for 12 or more hours a day. If someone uses a keyboard for as little as 20 minutes a day they are at risk for developing pain or RSIs if their workstation is not set up correctly or they are using the wrong tools.
For companies, investing in ergonomics is certainly not a waste of money. As mentioned above, employees who are set up with the right ergonomic equipment, and who use it correctly, are more productive. This adds tremendously to a company’s bottom line. And since employees who use ergonomic equipment end up in less pain and with less injuries, they are absent less for these issues (whether sick days or leave to have a procedure done to correct a RSI).
Ergonomics is not a one size fits all solution. Just because one computer mouse works for one person does not mean it is the right mouse for another. People are built differently. It is important to match the person to the equipment to have the best results. It’s not about the worker modifying themselves to be able to work at a specific workstation. But should rather be about fitting the workstation to fit the needs of the worker.
It’s not just for the office. Yes, it’s important to make sure employees in an office environment have the proper equipment to do their jobs in a safe and healthy manner. But ergonomics is also applicable to people who travel for work and people who work at home. Anywhere you set up a computer to do work is an opportunity to introduce ergonomics into your life.
Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of what ergonomics is and is not, as well as why it is so important for individuals and companies. In the end, if people are using the right equipment for the task, they will be healthier and happier. And healthy, happy employees can provide more production for businesses, which can help them earn more money.