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Why you should be paying more attention to ergonomics when working from home: Ergonomic Hazards Found in Every Office and How to Prevent Them

 

Lower back pain aside, most ergonomic injuries tend to go unnoticed until they’re a serious problemand prolonged exposure to ergonomic hazards could result in serious or even permanent damage.  

So, what exactly are ergonomic hazards? 

Ergonomic hazards are situations or behaviours that can lead to a variety of musculoskeletal disorders. These hazards are typically repetitive daily, hourly occurrences that can eventually cause painful injures or medical conditions like: 

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome 
  • Chronic neck and back pain 
  • Frequent headaches 
  • Increased muscle tension and reduced joint mobility. 

Understanding office ergonomics means being aware of the hazards and reducing your exposure to harmful conditions 

So, what should you look out for? 

Here are some common ergonomic hazards in the workplace and how you can resolve them: 

1. Old or unergonomic office chairs 

If you consider how much time your staff spend in their chairs, they’ll need a solid, supportive and ergonomically designed office chair. These specifically designed chairs will help prevent chronic back, neck and shoulder pain as they help promote the correct alignment of the spine. 

An ergonomic office chair offers support in the following three ways: 

  • The back of the chair should curve with your spine to offer support to your back and shoulders. Otherwise, your team can experience strain in their lower back muscles.  
  • The cushioning in the seat needs to support the spine throughout the day. Normal wear and tear will cause the cushioning to compress or spread out, this is when you should replace it. 
  • The arm rests should support your hands near your lap, with your elbows at a rough 90-degree angle. This will minimise the stress in your neck, shoulders and wrists. 

If your current office chairs aren’t meeting your team’s needs, it might be time to invest in new, ergonomic office chairs. 

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2. Incorrect computer, keyboard or mouse placement 

A common reason why people are leaning or slouching at their office desks is because their computer, keyboard or mouse is awkwardly placed. Office ergonomics can help you correctly place your monitor to prevent the muscle strain, pain, and headaches from sitting in a slouched position. 

When sitting in your office chair with your feet flat on the ground, your monitor should be at eye-level. It’s important to raise or lower the monitor, chair or desk to align the screen correctly to prevent unnecessary neck strain. 

Once your monitor is set, adjust your keyboard and move your mouse into a comfortable position. You shouldn’t be reaching for anything; both your keyboard and mouse should already be within your range of motion.  

Are all your team's devices correctly placed?  

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3. Sedentary behaviour  

Even with an ergonomic chair, your team are still spending too many hours every day sitting. You can introduce opportunities for them to stand and move around such as: 

  • Setting timers to ensure all your employees get up and go for a walk or do some standing stretches. 
  • Investing in height-adjustable desks that can help your team alternate between sitting and standing, ensuring they get the right balance of movement daily. 

A happy, healthy team is a productive team. To ensure your team stays productive and engaged contact one of our ergonomic experts for advice on the ideal ergonomic furniture for you and your team. 


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