While ergonomic improvements in the workplace typically come from the efforts of employers, the actions of employees are just as important in this matter. Ignoring ergonomics can lead to employees enduring injuries over a long period of time, in areas including but not limited to the neck, back, and wrists. These easy ways for employees to improve ergonomics will help workers stay healthy, happy, and productive.
Prioritize Your Posture
Possibly the biggest culprit of poor workplace ergonomics is poor posture. While this is an effective tip for all employees, it’s going to be especially important for anyone working at a desk throughout the day. If you’re working on a keyboard, be sure to keep your arms straight, avoiding the bending of your elbows and wrists. You should also make sure to sit up straight instead of slouching in your chair.
Another important tip to remember is to avoid bending your neck. Keep the screen directly in front of you so you can hold your head up straight, just as you should be doing with your back. Many people don’t even realize they’re making mistakes with their posture, but if you monitor your posture throughout the day, you can avoid developing injuries in the neck, back, and so forth.
Avoid Repetitious Motions
This tip is particularly helpful for workers in the material handling industry. That being said, employees in all industries should monitor their movements throughout the day to see whether or not they need to make a change. Repetitive motions like lifting, twisting, and bending can cause immense strain in employee’s muscles over time. When possible, and without compromising the quality of your actions, try changing up your movements throughout the day.
If you can’t do this, then be sure to take small breaks from time to time. Using the right material handling equipment plays a big role in aiding with employee ergonomics, so be sure to vocalize your opinion to superiors if you feel as though the equipment you’re using is a detriment to the health of you and your fellow employees.
Don’t Skip Your Breaks
This is one of the easiest ways for employees to improve ergonomics because employers are legally required to provide break time to employees who work a certain amount of time (the exact amount of time that qualifies employees for breaks varies from state to state). However, it’s not uncommon for employees to push the time they take their break later and later in order to get their work done.
Even if you feel pressured to take a break later in the day, you should consider taking breaks at least four to five hours after you start working, whether you work at a desk or in a material handling facility. This will help you avoid putting unnecessary strain on your body, as we briefly touched on in the point above. Aside from putting your body at ease, it will help you put your mind at ease too.