8 ways to improve your workplace ergonomics
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new recruit or a CEO, workplace ergonomics are important for your company’s productivity and your personal health. But sometimes recognizing an ergonomic risk situation is the hardest step – after all, it’s easy to pass off poor ergonomics as ‘quirks of the job.’
Before you get weighed down by bad habits – here are eight ways to improve the ergonomics at your workstation, office environment, or company more broadly.
1. Quit the chair once in a while
Did you know that Australians sit for an average of 10 hours per day? Studies suggest that sitting longer than just 4 hours per day is linked with an increased risk of heart disease, muscle degeneration, back pain, and some types of cancer.
If you’re working an office job it’s important to leave the chair and move around every now and then. Sitting down all day can also have serious consequences such as weight gain, depression, and mental health disorders.
If you’re chair-bound for most of the day – it is a good idea to keep changing where and how you sit, and take as many frequent breaks as possible to keep your body moving.
2. Invest in a sit/stand desk
Picture this: you’re about to give an online presentation. Normally, with a boardroom full of people you’d stand for the important occasion. But now you find yourself 5 minutes before the call wondering if you should stand or sit.
Research shows that body posture influences self-confidence – and slouching through a presentation isn’t going to be good for you or for your audience.
There are multiple health benefits of standing while working. For example, less neck pain, lower risk of obesity – not to mention the extra calories burned. These desks can change the way you interact with your monitor, screen, and office space more generally. If you can get your hands on one of these desks – it could well change the way you work.
3. Upgrade your equipment
Whether you work in an office, or on a construction site, the tools you work with on a daily basis are the ones that can end up holding you back the most. For example, using outdated heavy machinery can cause issues with hearing, or even impact the body’s vestibular system from exposure to vibrations.
Embracing change can be hard – especially if you’ve grown used to using the tools and machinery that were hot stuff a couple of years ago. But even changing things up temporarily can have a positive impact on the quality of your work and keep things fresh.
4. Invest in better communication
Working in a team can be both exciting and challenging. And if your communication isn’t up to scratch, then it’s often more challenging than anything else. Organisational ergonomics is an important part of any team project or business structure.
If you’re working in a team suffering from poor communication, here are 3 simple ways of improving this situation:
- Open up the office space to encourage in-person conversation
- Maximise engagement with online communication platforms
- Engage in team-building activities both inside and outside work
5. Introduce some greenery into your office
Sometimes it’s the simple changes that can make a big difference. Introducing a few plants into your office space can help purify the air and even help with stress.
Research shows that plants actually help detoxify the air. This can reduce volatile organic compounds which are often responsible for common illnesses, throat infections, and common allergies like asthma. Plants can also help regulate humidity in the room – which is important, especially during extreme weather. And after all, plants help make the office space look nice and well cared for. Just remember to water them regularly.
6. Make time for an exercise routine
Working eight hour days without any significant movement or stretching can be dangerous. Not only are sedentary employees more likely to develop higher blood sugar levels, but they’re also at greater risk of obesity and other metabolic disorders. Exercise is important in reducing these risk factors – and even a simple stretching routine in the office or during a break can alleviate stress and musculoskeletal issues.
7. Create a safer working environment
Ergonomics is as much about preventing injury in the workplace as it is about ensuring the ultimate productivity and health of all employees. Observing all Occupational Health and Safety guidelines is important in ensuring everyone is working in a safe and secure environment. If you notice a hazard in the workplace – loose cords, broken chairs, or faulty machinery – ensure the issues are taken care of before someone gets hurt.
8. Consult with a physio
If you want to change your workstation, office space, or company ergonomics, it’s good to consult with the experts. One way to get expert advice on booking workplace ergonomics is with your local physiotherapist. Vestibular physiotherapy experts can identify issues within your inner ear and help stabilise your vision, improve your hearing, and help with symptoms of vertigo and fainting.
Think you’re ready to change your workplace ergonomics? Consult with your local physio today.