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The Economics of Ergonomics

The Economics of Ergonomics

Ergonomics is derived from two Greek words—”ergon” (work) and “nomoi” (natural laws). It means working according to nature, rather than against nature. So, it’s essentially the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.

As an employer, efficiency is a key element to success. Maximum output at minimum time and cost. It’s what we’re all looking for right? This and a strong work culture, connection, a need to feel wanted, and striving toward something bigger than ourselves. That’s why the study of ergonomics in workplaces has seen a dramatic upswing in recent years. Employers recognize that optimum efficiency relies, in large part, on healthy, happy, and comfortable employees. In this ever-advancing technological age, where we’re sitting in front of a screen, sedentary, and at less-than-ideal angles for 12-14 hours a day in NYC, our bodies are paying the price in the form of postural imbalances and repetitive strain injuries. So what can be done?

Have an Ergonomic Workspace Assessment

At Urban Wellness Clinic, we perform ergonomic consulting for office spaces and work stations on every single one of our patients and company-wide.

The first thing we’ll do is evaluate the environment and employees at risk for injury. We survey each employee one on one to get an accurate picture of their job—tasks required, time to complete tasks, time spent on the computer, and time spent on cell phones, etc. We also ask about discomfort, pain, and injuries. Each personal ergonomic workstation assessment lasts about 15 to 20 minutes and provides us with the information needed to apply ergonomic best practices to reduce risk of injury. We take before and after photos, since we’ve learned over our 10 years our experience, some people think they are sitting well but look less than optimal. A picture never lies. We’ll go over a workstation ergonomic assessment checklist that covers everything from chair positioning and arm placement to screen height and lighting.

Once we’ve assessed each workstation, we set out to mitigate risks. What works for one person, isn’t going to work for another. That’s why we hone in on the specific issues and physical ailments and work to create a space geared toward each individual situation. Someone suffering from headaches, for example, will get different recommendations than someone who has a back injury. But we also look at simple things, like if they are right or left handed, and their height.

That said, there are some practices that should be employed by everyone in the office. And we’ll provide recommendations and insights to improve ergonomics, such as:

Guidelines for an ergonomically correct sitting position

  • Employees should be able to sit with the spine lengthened and neck long and slightly tucked.
  • They can tilt the seat and raise or lower it so the pelvis is angled slightly forward and the knees are slightly lower than hip level.
  • Forearms, wrists, and hands should be straight and almost parallel to the floor.
  • Head and torso are in line, head slightly bent forward, facing toward the front.
  • Shoulders are relaxed with upper arms hanging normally at sides of the body.
  • Elbows are close to the body and bent between 90 and 100 degrees.

Corporate wellness- better posture at work

The best ergonomic office furniture

Chairs

One of the most well-known office chairs and is 94% recyclable. It comes in three different sizes, is easily adjustable, and has an airy mesh membrane. Its most recent design has eight cones of differing tensions for ergonomic comfort.

Herman Miller’s attempt at affordable desk chairs. Webbed back, offers full adjust-ability and lumbar support. It comes in several colors and is fully recyclable. The British School of Osteopathy uses this chair in their training center.

Standing desks

Comes in two shapes and seven sizes. The height adjustment range covers 95.5% Americans. Stable and sleek.

Similar to the Jarvis Bamboo desk with less of a side-to-side wobble. Great stability and a good height adjustment range.

Great update to an already existing standard-height desk. Provides a smooth transition from sitting to standing. Separate adjustment settings for work surface and monitor gives the user dual ergonomics. Not designed for mounting laptops.

Footrests

Compact and sleek design with three different height adjustment settings and three different angle adjustment settings.

Large surface with bumps to massage feet. Easy-to-glide and adjustable platform rocks the feet and adjusts the angle. It comes with three height adjustment settings.

Increases circulation by encouraging gentle rocking of feet and relieves stress on the lower back by lifting the legs up. It has rubber, non-slip grips that keep the feet in place.


Laptop computer stands

Sturdy and is adjustable with a front slider that adjusts the height easily and elevates the screen to eye level, improving body posture. Rubber padding protects laptops and tilt design helps cool them. Compatible with all kinds of laptops and notebooks.

Portable, yet stable, it easily folds into a stick. The height is easily adjustable and it fits with all makes and models of laptops.

Keyboards

Built on advanced ergonomic principles, with a split keyboard layout that keeps wrists and forearms in a relaxed position. Cushioned palm rest protects against inflammation and repetitive stress injuries. Domed keyboard and a natural arc layout.

Fully split keyboard with a 17″ Bridge Cable. The keyboard can also be tented or negatively tilted and has navigation, audio, and shortcut hotkeys and laser-etched, sculpted keys.

Split-adjustable design to adjust to the user. Connects with the user’s laptop over Bluetooth and connects with two additional devices. Does not, however, show any negative tilting.

Ergonomic tips for your employees

At Urban Wellness Clinic, we also take the time to educate your employees on ergonomic tips and guidelines to work safely and stay pain-free. We demonstrate ways to avoid injuries, adjust their workstation, and perform stretches to remain limber. We train your team on:

  • Proper desk posture: How to sit, adjust a seat, and interact with your workstation.
  • Taking breaks: When to take them and what to do during a break.
  • General fitness: Recommendations for upper body strength, alignment, and flexibility.
  • Chair yoga: And other stretches to do throughout the day.

When it comes to ergonomics, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To keep your workforce in tip top shape and boost your efficiency, schedule an ergonomic assessment with Urban Wellness Clinic today or call 212-355-0445 for all your questions answered.

Best in health,

Dr Emily Kiberd

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