Postures of the Modern Workplace & Ergonomics

I saw this Wall Street Journal blog article via Facebook. It explains the new postures that have arise since recently, most likely due to the use and availability of computers in the work place. I found appropriate for students as well since a bulk of our time is spent hunched over laptops and books. Read more about it here:

http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2013/02/25/sitting-slouching-and-shrugging-at-work/?mod=e2fb

wallstreetpostureblog

Figure 1. The modern body postures in the work place, according to the Walk Street Journal

My mom has always been an advocate of reminding me when I have crappy posture. While it pissed me off when I was younger, I am still struggling to heed her words now. Better posture promotes not only healthy back muscles, but also allows for easy passage of oxygen throughout the body. Psychologically, it will make you feel more confident and alert.

While everyone likes to sit differently, this brings up the point that we should really take ergonomics seriously. Ergonomics is defined by the US Department of Labor as “science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population.” This includes assessing the risks associated with the development of injuries.

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/

When I was interning at GSK, I was made to take an online course on ergonomics. There are increasing cases of injury due to office work, as funny as that sounds. It usually has to do with the stationary nature or static position that entails office jobs. There are new products that companies are providing their employees for free to prevent their harm. Some examples:

  • Gel cushioned keyboards and mouse pads to relieve the strain of wrists while working on computer. Prevent things like carpal tunnel.
  • Blue tooth option so that you don’t have to strain your neck holding a phone during a call while typing or writing
  • Comfy seats to promote proper posture

ergonomics

Figure 2. A cool diagram of proper ergonomics from Clarkson University

Of course, another great and easy way to prevent these unnecessary strains is to be aware of your own posture and to make sure a 5 minute walk every hour or so if you are in a very sedentary job position.

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2 comments on “Postures of the Modern Workplace & Ergonomics

  1. Alias M. says:

    The office I now work in takes ergonomics very seriously. When I was new, I thought it was over the top and unnecessary. There was a proper way of typing and mousing, and we even have the option to work standing up! But after a few years, I realized the benefits of working in an ergonomic workstation. I don’t experience pain in my back, neck, shoulders and wrists anymore, which I used to experience in my previous work.

    • Christal says:

      Thanks for your comment! I had one of my coworkers tell me that they had developed carpal tunnel just from constantly straining her wrists. I don’t know how much I would like a standing work station primarily, but I think it would be a good way to break up the monotony of the day!

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