The Goal Of Ergonomics Is To Help People: – Nearly 6 in 10 Americans say they work from home all or most of the time, but many don't prioritize their WFH setup.
Many of us thought working from home would be temporary: rolling out of bed and sitting at the kitchen table; Then he stares at his laptop for hours on end through Zoom calls. What was expected to last a few months turned into a year and is now close to three. At the start of the pandemic, we worked from home to stay safe. This is our new normal.
The Goal Of Ergonomics Is To Help People:
According to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey, nearly six in 10 Americans say they work from home most or most of the time. For many it is an option. About 61 percent of those who have an office prefer to work from the comfort of their home because of the flexibility.
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While WFH may be our new reality, our workplace is not stuck. The change was so sudden that no thought was given to how our WFH setups and routines might affect our ergonomics—and, in turn, our focus and productivity. In a 2020 American Chiropractic Association survey, 92% of chiropractors said their patients' neck and back pain, among other musculoskeletal problems, increased when they started staying at home.
“People are doing things instead of fixing them,” says Emily Cubard, chiropractor and founder of Urban Wellness Clinic, who sees clients still working on sofas, dining room chairs and kitchen chairs with laptops at their feet. “People don't realize that if we're tired all day—due to the stress of gravity and postural overload—our bones will begin to change and rebuild because of that stress.”
In addition to pain, poor ergonomics can increase fatigue, muscle strain and imbalance, ergonomists say.
“Discomfort also reduces focus, because if you're constantly searching for a good position, you're paying more attention to your discomfort than to the work you're doing,” says Karen Lossing, a professional ergonomics consultant.
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The goal should be to function without pain. Here, ergonomists offer tips to create a good workstation at home to prevent stress and increase productivity.
When Keybird examines a client's work-to-home setup, the poster is the first thing he notices. Many people position their computers in such a way that they are looking down at the screen, resulting in slouching. Instead, your eyes should look to the horizon and hit the top third of the screen. Placing your computer on top of a stack of books or on a laptop stand can do the trick.
Also affects your stool fall. Without a chair to support your lower back (the hard surfaces of kitchen or dining chairs usually don't provide enough back support), you stop getting sensory feedback and start slouching. This pattern continues and over time can increase back pressure and damage bone structure, Cubard says.
To achieve ideal posture, Keybard recommends investing in a chair height that allows your hips to be slightly higher than your knees and your feet directly on the floor in front of you. This position will help release tension in the lower back.
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When sitting, your ears should be in line with your shoulders, which are in line with your hips. Your elbows should be next to your body, close to your center of gravity.
If you don't have an office chair at home, consider adding a pillow to the back of the chair you use so you can't lean on it.
Working at a kitchen table or other hard surface can put stress on the wrists and elbows. Kermit Davis, a professor of environmental protection at the University of Cincinnati, recommends placing a soft towel on a table where you can rest your wrists. The wrist should ideally be parallel to your workstation.
While good posture improves work productivity during long periods of attention, perfect posture is not meant to last the entire workday. In fact, it is neither possible nor natural. Instead, Kiberd says the goal is “optimal positioning.”
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“Our day should be dynamic and we should have posture,” Cubard says. “Our goal is to arch our backs and round our backs, not for hours at the end of each day. We should move to that ‘ideal position' by taking breaks, walking and changing sitting positions.
You don't have to go out and buy an expensive desk. Positional variability is key, Davis says. Set a timer to remind yourself to move your legs, stretch, and take your eyes off the screen, Haran says.
It may sound simple, but working from a bed or couch for more than an hour isn't ergonomic or productive, Cubard says. A dedicated workstation outside the bedroom (which allows for good work posture) can help separate relaxation from work, which helps the mind focus and stay on task.
Working from home limits the social connections that come naturally with in-person work. By not interrupting these conversations on the way to refill a water bottle or grab lunch, you can lose the feeling that the screen isn't delivering the same.
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“Unhappiness with peers on a daily, face-to-face basis can manifest as defensive body postures such as rounded shoulders, forward hunching, and a generally less confident posture,” Kubrid said.
Incorporating socialization into the day can help stimulate and communicate our body's natural responses. Consider using the time you have to go to the office for social activities outside of work.
Healthy spines are found in people who prioritize movement, Cubard says. Now that travel is out of reach for many, normal daily movement has reduced. Focusing on incorporating simple habits into your routine, such as taking breaks, will improve your standing down the road.
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