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Optimizing Ergonomics: Taking Care of Your Body and Your Mind


Sore neck? Stiff back? A headache? If you suffer from any of these conditions after a full workday, your posture may be to blame.

Ergonomics is the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products and systems so that they fit the people who use them. Ergonomics aims to create safe, comfortable and productive work environments by taking into account an individual’s abilities, and limitations, to improve health and well-being.

Research has shown that lower back pain is one of the world’s most common work-related disabilities. Back pain can be the result of poor posture, but it may also be the side effect of a poorly designed workstation.

Last month the Furniture Transition representatives were given the opportunity to test Herman Miller furniture options being considered for the new Administration Building and provide input about specific needs and preferences. From workstation configurations to telescoping computer screens and sit-to-stand desks to a handful of chair designs, representatives stood, sat, adjusted, opened and tested every furniture option provided.

The sit-to-stand desk made everyone’s wish list and will be a standard workstation feature for the new building. The sit-to-stand desk, which allows you to stand up comfortably while working, affords many health benefits, including:

• Reduced back pain—the Centers for Disease Control found that use of a sit-to-stand desk reduced upper back and neck pain by 54 percent after four weeks

• Reduced risk of weight gain—when compared to an afternoon of sedentary work, an equal amount of standing has been shown to burn more than 170 calories*

• Improved posture and body core strength

• Increased energy, alertness and mood

Other workstation features, such as task lighting and chair designs, are currently being selected by individual departments. Additional amenities, including curved computer monitors and wireless phone options—all designed with the end-user in mind – will be finalized in coming months, and an ergonomics expert will help all employees customize their individual workstations once the new building is constructed and move-in is scheduled.

*HealthLine newsletter, June 2017

Elizabeth Braun