Do you know that this month is Global Ergonomics Month? As companies globally are en route to returning to a more permanent office work model (full-time home office, full-time office, or a combination of both), it is indeed time to begin considering incorporating and prioritising healthy ergonomic culture in your workplace.
Are you or your employees suffering from constant pains and aches from working in ill-fitted workstations? Are your company’s existing workstations as ergonomically beneficial as they should be? Ill-fitted workstations, together with stress and a sedentary work lifestyle, punish us both physically and mentally.
Global Ergonomics Month is a global campaign to raise awareness of the musculoskeletal disease (MSDs) and the importance of ergonomic practices in workplaces. Ergonomics refers to the science behind matching work tasks to your body. When good ergonomics is practised, workplaces can experience benefits, such as productivity, health, comfort, safety, and efficiency, as well as a reduction in musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs).
What are Musculoskeletal Injuries?
Musculoskeletal injuries, commonly known as Musculoskeletal Disorders, are disorders or injuries in the tendons, joints, blood vessels, muscles, soft tissues, ligaments, or nerves. Injuries can also include inflammation, strains, sprains, and others.
MSIs and MSDs are usually an effect of:
- Poor working postures
- Ill-fitted workstations, such as improper reaching zones, wrong work heights, inadequate lighting, and poorly set temperatures in the office
- Tasks such as rotating arms, prolonged sitting, bending of wrists, and reaching above shoulder level
MSIs and MSDs, without proper care, lead to:
- Chronic aching, weakness, fatigue, and pain during rest
- Weakness, burning sensation, aches, swelling, and pain in the affected area
- Drastic effects on physical and mental health, which in turn affect both organisation and family
MSIs are one of the leading injuries many employees experience globally, and if not checked, they could lead to the development of MSDs.
So, what can you do to reduce MSD developments?
1. Conduct an employee discomfort survey: There are survey templates online that you can find in which you can easily derive your employees’ stage of discomfort in the workplace. Which area hurts most? Neck, hips, wrists, or shoulders? Are workstations the critical factor of their discomfort? Communicating the final survey results to your employees is crucial to work out steps to address their issues. Redo this survey a few months later to check for any improvements.
2. Moving forward, optimise the workstations in the office with well-fitted equipment: For home offices, you may get them to conduct an ergo self-test on their desk layout. You can also conduct the same ergo self-test on the workstations for employees returning to work in the office. It is vital to note that the workstation can be ergonomically simple and need not involve a total overhaul. If adjustable and ergonomically designed equipment is necessary, providing your employees with a list of about two options would be a significant investment.
3. Review or design an ergonomics procedure and programme in your workplace: Ensure your programme provides an ergonomic solution to prevent MSIs as well as avenues for your employees to raise concerns and report incidents.
4. Educate your employees on an ergonomically appropriate set-up and how to prevent MSIs: Educate them on the proper working and seating postures to help reduce and prevent MSIs.
5. Assign a team of champions: They are individuals who are adequately trained to assess workplace ergonomics. With proper knowledge and experience, this team of champions are able to assess and respond to ergonomics concerns in the workplace.
6. Encourage micro-breaks: Many employees spend more time sitting in front of their desks, increasing the risk of developing MSDs, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease. Micro-breaks aim to encourage employees to alternate between sitting and standing.
Here are three ways you can encourage movement among employees:
- Provide adjustable desks to encourage your employees to alternate their working positions
- Encourage the usage of alerts and apps to remind your employees to stand up and move around
- Offer tips, such as using coffee breaks to move around, stretching often, and viewing documents on a higher surface.
This Global Ergonomic Month, let us practise healthy ergonomics in our workplace. When we take care of our health, our employees are happier and more productive, which in turn, benefits the overall company. TakeAseat is here to provide you with solutions for your ergonomics need. Besides ergonomic chairs, tables, and accessories, our Ubi furniture shop and Woodlands furniture shop also offer corporate solutions should you consider bulk orders.
Visit https://www.takeaseat.sg/ to start a happier, healthier, and more productive workplace today!