Job Wellness & Office Ergonomics, Myths & Facts!



Several times a year I teach continuing education seminars for assisted living owners regarding job safety and ergonomics. During the power point presentation I talk about myths and facts related to safe patient handling. You might ask, how does this apply to “Office Ergonomics and Job Wellness”? The answer lies below.

Here are just a few myths and their related facts on office ergonomics:

MYTH: Those who are physically fit have a reduced risk of job injury, stress & fatigue.

FACT: Unless a worker trains in the same tasks as the job requires, then the benefit is minimal (A runner’s cardio fitness will not necessarily help them to have good body mechanics or good posture while sitting at a work station)

MYTH: Bad habits are hard to break relating to ergonomics, office wellness and office safety.

FACT: Habits are correctable by applying the following:

“Education & Training” followed by “Applied Knowledge” creates a New Mindset, “New Mindsets” create “New Habits”.

MYTH: Buying an item that the “manufacturer states is ergonomically correct” must be good, and the product will correct my work station problem.

FACT: Not all ergonomic tools and equipment are created equal. Often you get what you pay for. But most importantly if you haven’t had a proper Ergonomic Assessment, you may not know the exact solution to your job wellness and job safety problem. There are from 30-60 different questions and assessments that go into a Certified Ergonomic Evaluation to help aid in the purchase of ergonomic tools or furniture.

MYTH: An ergonomic program will not help my company’s productivity or bottom line.

FACT:  As you may have read in a previous blog titled (Workplace Ergonomics, is it Worth the Investment) proper ergonomic assessments and training will improve worker comfort, as well increase productivity and creativity. Ergonomic training will also help to decrease job turnover, and absenteeism.

Ergo Breaks Will Aid in Your Productivity, Creativity and Job Wellness


So Just What Are Ergo Breaks?

As you may have read in our previous Blogs; long periods of sitting, awkward postures, repetitive motions, eye strain, and lack of mobility will all play havoc on your overall job function, creativity, productivity, sense of wellbeing and is a sure setup for stress and fatigue.

Ergo Breaks are nothing more than taking a few minutes several times a day to stretch, walk or disconnect from your desk, the phone, computer, or any work space.

Movement is one of the most fundamental ways we have to aid in job function, mental clarity, physical strength and of course general wellbeing.

Ergo Breaks don’t even require you to go to the gym or outside. You can do these breaks right at your workstation in most cases. These exercises are simple, quick and are sure to refresh and re-energize you for the next hour or two.

Here is a great source, for Ergo Break Exercises from the “National Institute of Health” for the following: Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hand, Wrist, Finger, Foot and more.

Now all you need to do is commit to taking breaks every one to two hours during the work day, do the exercises, and then stay committed to adding them to your daily routine throughout your work week.

Dehydration, Job Safety & Job Wellness


How Dehydration Affects Your Job Safety & Job Wellness

There are many factors that can attribute to dehydration; heat, exercise and the water we lose every day in the form of water vapor in the breath we exhale and in our excreted sweat. Dehydration occurs when more water is moving out of our cells and bodies than what we are taking in through drinking or eating, then our bodies become out of balance.

Here are a few signs and symptoms of dehydration that can range from minor to severe that will have an effect on your overall job safety and job wellness.

Muscle Fatigue (is a risk factor for strain & sprain)



Lethargy – Difficulty with Tasks

Cognitive Performance


Generally by the time we feel thirsty or have other symptoms we are already dehydrated. Staying hydrated is simple, we just need to make it a priority. Here are a few tips to staying hydrated while at work.

Eat plenty of fruit which has a natural high water content

Add vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce and broccoli to your snacks

Not fond of water, sip on ice tea, or teas made of fruit

Drink sparkling water instead of soda

Though caffeinated drinks don’t appear to increase the risk of dehydration according to new studies at the Mayo Clinic, caffeinated drinks can cause headaches in some people which effects clarity of mind and cause you to feel stressed and fatigued, and this will affect overall job safety and job wellness.

Water is probably your best bet to stay hydrated. It is calorie-free, caffeine-free, inexpensive and readily available.

Staying Hydrated: A Simple Way to Aid in Job Safety & Job Wellness

Workplace Ergonomics: Is it Worth the Investment?


Is investing in Ergonomic Solutions worth the cost? Absolutely!

Ergonomic education and training is good for you, your business and your employees. Musculoskeletal Disorder injuries produce 33% of Lost Time Claims in the US according to the Applied Ergonomics Conference, Dallas TX.

Poor ergonomics in the workplace can cause the employee to feel fatigued, stressed, have increased headaches, eye strain, back or neck pain, and be at risk for work related injuries.

Business owners and managers need to consider several facts when making the decision to invest in ergonomic training and solutions.

1) Ergonomics will reduce cost by cutting down on work place injuries, employee time loss and increased insurance rates.

2) Ergonomics will improve employee’s productivity, moral, efficiency and job quality. While decreasing job turnover, and absenteeism.

3) Ergonomic training communicates to your employees your commitment to their safety, health and wellbeing.

4) Ergonomic Solutions will increase revenues, decrease costs and is an investment in your company’s present and future.

Because applied Ergonomics is working smarter not harder, by designing the task to the worker and not forcing the worker to fit the task, you can expect great results by investing in, and implementing Ergonomic Solutions.

According to the same Applied Ergonomics Conference mentioned above, studies showed that the Success of Implementing Ergonomics will:

1) Decrease injury rate 61%

2) Decrease Severity (cost) 30%

Workplace Ergonomics: Is it Worth the Investment? Absolutely!

Sitting the New Smoking?

office sitting

Did you know that a Sedentary Lifestyle is Dangerous for Your Health?

Dr. Max Gomez of CBS News states that new research equates a sedentary lifestyle to having the same negative effect on our bodies as smoking. And it’s not just sitting around at home. It is also our sit-for-hours workdays, or jobs that require driving and sitting in the car for long periods of time that are part of an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle.

People who get regular physical activity have a more efficient immune system, which helps to ward off various disease such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and illnesses such as a cold or flu.

Lack of physical activity increases the loss of lean muscle tissue, making activities of daily living much more difficult to perform. Weakening of muscle strength and muscle fatigue is also a risk factor for job related injuries.

While not an equal substitute for exercise, some doctors recommend getting up once an hour from your desk, even if it’s just to walk around briefly or go to the bathroom. Some people have even started using combination treadmill desks at work — anything that contracts our muscles and gets blood flowing. Our bodies were designed for motion, regular movement will increase blood flow, brain function, strengthen our muscles and increase productivity.

The good news, says Dr. Dermont Phelan, of the Cleveland Clinic, is that it doesn’t mean that we have to go to the gym for 30 minutes in the middle of the day. Just a brisk walk, and we don’t have to do it continuously. Even doing 10 minutes several times a day will work.

So get up, get moving and enjoy a healthier lifestyle and better job performance!


Office Ergonomics – A Few Solutions for Better Job Performance

You don’t necessarily need to purchase expensive office equipment or furniture to ensure good ergonomics. The key is to situate yourself in a natural postural position. Get up and move around throughout the day, and pay attention to your body mechanics while working. Just a few changes can have a positive effect on your mind, body and job performance.

Symptoms of poor ergonomics can include; excessive fatigue, eye strain headaches, stress, neck, back, arm, and shoulder pain.

Posture Concerns: Slouching and leaning forward take you out of your body’s natural postural angle. This can cause fatigue, strain and pain to your neck, back and shoulders.

Posture Solutions:

  1. Purchase a back support pillow to help you sit in a more natural postural position.
  2. Make sure your feet rest flat on the floor, as this aids in good posture.
  3. If you find yourself leaning forward, move your monitor closer to you or enlarge the print on your screen and adjust your monitor so that the top is no higher than eye level.
  4. Keep the weight of your head positioned over your neck.
  5. Make sure you pull your chair in every time you sit down.

Keyboard/Mouse Concerns: Arm and shoulder strain and pain, drooping or elevated shoulders, reaching or extending your arms or hands for the keyboard or mouse. These are all evidence of poor ergonomics and equipment placement.

Keyboard/Mouse Solutions:

  1. Ensure that the weight of your arms are always supported. This will help to relax the muscles of your neck and shoulders.
  2. Keep your arms close to your body while using the keyboard and mouse, and place your arms at a 90 degree angle.

There are many other factors related to good office ergonomics and job performance. Ergonomic Assessments are an affordable way to find out if your workstation and work environment is setting you up for good ergonomics, and better job performance.

What is “Repetitive Strain Injury” and Why Should I be Concerned?

neck pain

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a term used to refer to a range of disorders of the neck, shoulder, arm wrist, hand and back. RSI, also known as musculoskeletal disorders, can affect muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, soft tissue, joints and the nervous system.

RSI can be caused by using excessive force (pushing, pulling or supporting), making repetitive movements, adopting an awkward or static posture and by spending excessive time on an activity, as well as poor work design.

The lack of proper breaks and poor posture increase the static loading on a large number of muscles throughout your body. Over time these muscles tend to become shorter and denser, impeding blood circulation in the arms, neck, shoulders and back.

Poor posture is a constant source of chronic stress and RSI. Such postures disrupt the usual muscular balance of your body. After some time, your body begins to compensate for this imbalance by contracting nearby muscles for additional support, tightening the connective tissues to further support the imbalance, which inhibit the movement of surrounding nerves and blood vessels.

By correcting the ergonomics and poor posture, taking appropriate breaks, performing correct stretches, changing equipment placement and exercise is imperative in preventing and the recovery for RSI.

Treatments of RSI may include Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Occupational Therapy.

You can take a proactive approach to reduce the risk of RSI in your work environment. Why not begin today?

Puzzled by the term “Ergonomics”?


Let’s begin with the word itself. Ergonomics, comes from two Greek words: Ergon meaning work, and Nomos meaning laws. Ergonomics is a way to work smarter not harder by designing equipment, work stations and tasks to fit the worker NOT forcing the worker to fit the task.

Contrary to what some may think, applied ergonomics is not buying the most expensive equipment and it is not one size fits all. Ergonomics looks at what kind of work you do, what tools you use and your whole work environment. The aim is to find the best fit between you and your job conditions.

Buying an expensive office chair may not need to be the solution to ensure proper ergonomics at the office. Changes to the office work station might include:

Making sure that the monitor is at eye level and centered in front of you

Armrests should be level with the desk and support the elbows

Being sure the height of your chair allows your feet to rest flat on the floor

Adding a seat wedge to your chair to help your body rest in a natural angle

Ergonomic assessments provide evaluations, service and advice that will help to identify the significant risks factors in the workplace. By implementing ergonomic solutions you or your employees will reduce the risk of on the job injury, improve efficiency and job quality while feeling less stressed and fatigued.

The question: Who should be seeking out ergonomic options and solutions?

The answer: Everyone who is concerned about how they or their employees perform and feel.

Teri McGee, CEAS