Overcoming Office Pain – The Benefits of Ergonomics and Physical Activity
Overcoming common office-related aches and pains is one of the biggest problems facing the modern workforce. While many offices actively seek to embrace progressive ways to keep employees and staff members satisfied with their environments in a number of ways, ergonomics is often left on the backburner.
Colour therapy, greenery, and office design layout are all important, but if you go home at the end of the day with chronic back pain and strained vision, your craft beer lounge and postmodern conference room won’t mean much.
The study of ergonomics is the science of how efficient people are – and can be – in their workplace. It examines in depth, the benefits and effects of adjusting employee productivity by swapping details like different desks, chairs, mouses, monitors, etc – all geared at ensuring employees don’t sustain short or long term injury and are able to work at their full capacity. Some of the major benefits of ergonomic study and design include reduced costs, improved quality of work, and increasing company morale.
Common Workplace Injuries & the Benefits of Ergonomics
Office pain can stem from many causes.
One of the larger issues associated with office pain is caused by prolonged sitting. Some stats show that adults can spend up to 70% of their waking hours sitting down and have close to zero opportunity for physical activity throughout the day. Attributed to the rise of the computer, desks and chairs became staples of the office landscape. Sitting for extended periods has been linked to soft tissue injuries sustained from sitting such as; tight hip flexors, short hamstrings and weakening postural muscles in the mid back.
A standing desk, or a posture-improving chair is a great alternative to the typical office setting of a traditional desk and chair and can help you to improve your blood circulation, posture and ability to stretch throughout the day.
Chronic shoulder and neck pain usually comes from prolonged and repetitive movements. Small repetitive tasks like using a computer mouse, typing and sitting with bad hunched over posture for prolonged periods. Office pain can also surface in the forms of carpal tunnel, and strained eyes from typing and staring at screens all day long.
The benefits of implementing an ergonomic study into the office landscape not only has the best interest of the company in mind thanks to its ability to improve work quality and morale, but it’s a positive aspect of keeping the workforce healthy, comfortable, and aware of compromising positions that can lead to office pain.
To get started, rearrange your office space, and gauge your comfort levels. You may notice that you experience a dull pain in your arms or legs without truly realizing it – ensure you take the time to stretch and walk around at work every couple of hours, take the stairs at lunch, take your phone calls standing up, and frequent the proverbial water cooler for a chance to get out of your chair.
Benefits of Physical Activity
It goes without saying that the benefits of ergonomics are only as good as your level of dedication to practicing an improved active lifestyle.
Ergonomics may encourage better posture, blood flow and comfort, but implementing a comprehensive physical activity regimen into your routine provides your body with a chance to gain strength, flexibility, and overall health. One of the larger benefits of physical activity for office workers is sustained and increased energy levels. This will allow you to stay focused, and bring the best of yourself each day. Further, general fitness encourages the pattern of setting personal goals and finding the best ways to reach them – this is directly transferrable to your life in the office.
Fit employees are also less stressed than their aching co-workers. Exercise and fitness are great ways to release physical and emotional stress that can contribute to various aspects of office pain.
We think that discussions regarding exercise in the office are long overdue, but in the meantime, it’s up to each and every one of us to implement ergonomic best practices and physical activity into our daily routines to keep ourselves motivated, healthy and positive in the face of office pain.