One day, the team asked me questions about my work area. They wanted to know if the keyboard was at a comfortable height for my wrists. They asked if my chair was hurting my back and if my monitor was at an acceptable angle. No one had ever asked me if I could navigate around my desk with little to no difficulty or discomfort before.
Honestly, I thought the guys from health and safety were just bored and annoying me with random questions (they were both that kind of fella). I was wrong. It was simply a matter of ergonomics.
I had never heard the word before. In case you don’t know, “workplace ergonomics is the science of designing the workplace, keeping in mind the capabilities and limitations of workers” (Ergo-plus.com). So, wait, now there’s a science behind a comfy chair? I must have been an ergonomist without even knowing it, because I love a comfy chair.
Ergonomics isn’t an obscure science like keeping track of the cholesterol levels in crows, though. Ergonomics, as it turns out, can really help workers both perform and feel better. According to Medlineplus.gov, something as simple as “learning the right way to lift heavy objects” can cut down on back injuries. It’s also suggested that workers wear “special gloves to suppress vibrations from power tools.” I never thought about what the guys in the warehouse were wearing when they spent hours using heavy equipment.
Ergo-plus.com mentions things one would expect regarding a well-implemented ergonomics program: a reduction of injuries, better quality products being produced, less tired workers. One thing that was brought up that I hadn’t thought about was their premise that, if the workplace is built according to workers’ comfort, “employee engagement” increases. With a program in place, “it can reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and increase employee involvement.” Basically, if you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of you.
It’s not all about the dangers of lifting heavy things. Even office workers can suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic back issues if their workstations aren’t set up properly. From what I’ve read, office workers should take short breaks to stretch and to rest their eyes (looking at a screen all day is brutal!). Sitting should be done with good posture, elbows close to the body and feet comfortably on the floor (I prefer to sit cross-legged, so I guess I’m not doing it right).
I have a comfy chair at Bourke Accounting. My keyboard doesn’t hurt my wrists and my monitor is angled properly. If you come and see one of our Bourke Accounting experts, you’ll be invited to sit in one of our comfy chairs, too. If you chose to go the ergonomic route, Bourke Accounting specialists can offer advice regarding your financial needs in order to make it a reality. A happy and comfortable worker is a good worker!
Written by Sue H.