OFFICE HEALING – Avoiding expensive mistakes

Should Have Taken a Sick Day --- Image by © Sean Justice/Corbis
Should Have Taken a Sick Day — Image by © Sean Justice/Corbis

When I visit a workplace to do an ergonomic assessment it is usually to provide an expert opinion on ways to reduce workplace strain.

In some workplaces new office furniture has just been bought, particularly chairs, in an effort to chase away aches and pains caused by long hours at the workstation. I have been called in because there were problems that new equipment did not fix. While I applaud the commitment shown in investing in new and sometimes expensive office equipment, I also wish they had asked me in beforehand. It can be disheartening for a manager to hear that in all probability the old furniture was not correctly adjusted to start with and that perhaps the return on new furniture investment is not as high as it should be. On the other hand, the return on investment for an ergonomic assessment by a qualified professional is much higher.

Your office furniture may be starting to look outdated – and uncool – but the important thing is that it is set up to fit you, your chair is adjusted in relation toyour shape, your monitor is positioned in relation to your eyes and neck, that the duration and frequency of the tasks that you do every day fit with your capabilities and strengths. Sometimes people suspect that their old chair may just have been more comfortable than the new one, once both are properly adjusted. But trust me, no one really wants to say this because it sounds ungrateful, just downright wrong and certainly not the result envisioned when new office furniture and equipment were ordered! So people will opt to forever suffer in silence rather than complain about something that should have been a solution and cannot easily be undone. This often leads to an increase of symptoms, a decrease in productivity, and is a source of negative feelings at work – the mistake is now becoming costly.

Your office furniture may be starting to look outdated – and uncool – but the important thing is that it is set up to fit you

There is quite a lot we can do about body stress associated with being at a computer for long periods, but it usually requires an ergonomic assessment which if done before new equipment is bought, is both cost-effective and informative in avoiding those expensive mistakes.

Glenys Walker, CEO Allied Corporate Health

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