Confucius and Ergonomics

Confucius & Ergonomics:  “I Do and I Understand”

Approximately 2,500 years ago, Confucius was bringing enlightenment to the people of China. One of his most famous teachings is the Golden Rule which states that we should treat others the way that we wish to be treated. Five hundred years later, Jesus taught this to the people of Israel. Today this principle is universally accepted as the most important rule to follow for moral behavior and a healthy society. Another wise saying from this ancient philosopher is, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

With Confucius and Ergonomics, the effective lesson is when they sit in the chair and adjust it themselves. When they do, they understand.

In my 20 plus years as an occupational therapist and ergonomic consultant, this axiom has proven itself true again and again. Many times when I do an office ergonomic consult the worker is asking for a new chair. Usually, their chair is appropriate and the problem is the chair has not been correctly adjusted. The person who issued the chair might have said that the chair has adjustments; however, those words most likely went into one ear and out the other. Sometimes the person is shown how to adjust the chair. In these cases, the worker remembers the chair is adjustable and might get it set up correctly the first time. Then someday another person sits in their chair and changes the settings and the worker does not understand how to reset the chair.


Effective Lesson

The effective lesson is when the worker sits in the chair and adjusts it themselves. When they do they understand. Once I adjust the chair correctly and the worker sits down and feels the ideal setup, I change all the settings and ask the employee to correct the chair. Sometimes this takes a few minutes, but never more than half an hour. It’s good to be patient and let them figure it out with some gentle coaching. We will do this another time or two until the worker can truly demonstrate the ability to control their chair.

If an entire department receives new chairs, then we have a group lesson. We get a handful of people together in a circle with their chairs. I sit in the middle and show them all the adjustments and how it should fit their body. They practice for about 15 or 20 minutes and usually have fun and laugh with one another during this learning experience (laughter is a wonderful teacher). Once a worker demonstrates the ability to set their chair correctly, we have their friend sabotage it a few times to assure the learning is complete.

Employees Must Be Effectively Trained

When a business purchases ergonomic equipment such as a chair, hoist or a new tool, it is imperative that the employees are effectively trained. I have seen several instances where a company spends thousands of dollars on important ergonomic equipment and then fails to effectively train their employees. The expensive new item is set aside in a corner and gathers dust while demoralization settles into the ergonomics initiative.

People must be trained while using their hands and the training might need several repetitions before they really learn. Some workers may demonstrate correct behavior after 5 repetitions. Some workers might need 50 and other workers may need 200. Repetition is the mother of all learning and also a primary ergonomic risk factor. We must be committed to teach our employees effectively and mentor them during the learning curve. This concept is also applicable to ergonomic training for body mechanics, lifting technique and preventative stretching programs.

Things to Remember

Technology is evolving at an ever accelerating rate and requires innovative and cutting edge thinking. Our scientific discovery is a starship getting ever closer to making the jump to light speed. Juxtaposed is a rickety old steamboat that we call the human race. This dire contraption requires ancient wisdom to keep the boiler from exploding. It is crucial that we carefully utilize both scientific knowledge and ancient wisdom to sustain both vessels.

An article by Paul Krewson, Founder & Chairman of Peak Ergonomics, Inc.

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The Benefits of Ergonomics: Beyond Cost Savings

The Benefits of Ergonomics: Beyond Cost Savings

The benefits of ergonomics beyond cost savings contribute to a healthier, more productive, and more harmonious work environment.

Credit: Safety & Health Magazine June 6, 2016

The Benefits of Ergonomics: Beyond Cost Savings

When it comes to workplace safety and well-being, ergonomics plays a pivotal role that extends far beyond its initial association with cost savings. While reducing expenses is undoubtedly a valuable outcome, the benefits of ergonomics encompass a range of both direct and indirect advantages that contribute to a healthier, more productive, and harmonious work environment.

Direct Benefits of Ergonomics

1. Enhanced Employee Comfort and Well-being:
Ergonomically designed workspaces prioritize the comfort and health of employees. By providing adjustable chairs, ergonomic keyboards, and proper lighting, employers empower their workforce to maintain good posture, alleviate strain, and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. This improved physical well-being directly translates to increased job satisfaction and overall happiness.

2. Increased Productivity:
Investing in ergonomics pays off in terms of heightened productivity. Comfortable employees are more focused and engaged in their tasks, leading to a higher output of quality work. Reduced discomfort and fatigue mean fewer breaks for pain relief, allowing employees to remain concentrated on their responsibilities.

3. Decreased Absenteeism:
An ergonomically optimized workplace can drastically reduce absenteeism due to work-related injuries or discomfort. When employees are free from pain and strain, they are less likely to take sick days, resulting in better attendance records and uninterrupted workflow.

Indirect Benefits of Ergonomics

1. Talent Attraction and Retention:
Companies that prioritize ergonomics exhibit a commitment to employee well-being, making them more appealing to potential hires. Furthermore, when employees feel their health is valued, they’re more likely to stay with the company, reducing turnover rates and the associated costs.

2. Positive Company Culture:
A focus on ergonomics reflects a company culture that values its employees’ health and satisfaction. This promotes a sense of belonging and fosters a positive work atmosphere, leading to better teamwork, collaboration, and creativity.

3. Reputation Enhancement:
Businesses that prioritize ergonomics and invest in their employees’ well-being tend to build a positive reputation within their industry and among consumers. A company known for its commitment to worker safety and comfort stands out as an ethical and responsible organization.

4. Long-Term Cost Savings:
While cost savings might seem like the obvious benefit of ergonomics, it’s important to understand that these savings go beyond immediate financial considerations. By preventing workplace injuries, reducing healthcare expenses, and minimizing legal liabilities, ergonomics contribute to sustainable long-term cost savings.

Things to Remember

Ergonomics transcends its role as a mere cost-cutting measure, encompassing a comprehensive array of advantages that directly impact employee comfort, productivity, and well-being. Moreover, the indirect benefits, such as talent attraction, positive company culture, and enhanced reputation, underscore the far-reaching impact of ergonomics on an organization’s success. By investing in ergonomics, companies create an environment where employees thrive, both personally and professionally, resulting in a harmonious and prosperous workplace.

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Office Computer Desk Ergonomics

Office Computer Desk Ergonomics: Reducing the Risk of Injury

In today’s fast-paced digital world, most of us spend a significant portion of our day working on a computer at our office desk. However, prolonged hours in front of a screen can lead to various health issues, such as neck strain, back pain, and wrist discomfort. Thankfully, by setting up your office computer desk with proper ergonomics in mind, you can reduce the risk of injury and promote a healthier and more productive workspace. In this article, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to achieve an ergonomic setup, ensuring optimal comfort and well-being.


1. Choose the Right Desk and Chair

The foundation of a comfortable and ergonomic office setup begins with selecting the right desk and chair. Invest in a desk that offers enough surface area to accommodate your computer, monitor(s), keyboard, and other necessary peripherals. Adjustable height desks are preferable as they allow you to alternate between sitting and standing, promoting better posture and blood circulation.

Equally important is a high-quality ergonomic chair that supports your lower back and encourages a natural curve in your spine. Look for chairs with adjustable height and armrests to find the perfect fit for your body.

2. Position Your Monitor at Eye Level

Proper monitor placement is critical to avoid straining your neck and eyes. Position the top of your monitor screen at or just below eye level, so you’re looking slightly downward. This reduces the risk of neck strain and minimizes eye fatigue.

Ensure the monitor is at a comfortable distance from your eyes – typically about an arm’s length away. If using multiple monitors, align them side by side and at an equal height to prevent constant head movement.

3. Create an Optimal Keyboard and Mouse Setup

An ergonomic keyboard and mouse setup can significantly reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. Position your keyboard at a height that allows your elbows to rest comfortably at your sides and form a 90-degree angle.

Keep your wrists straight and avoid bending them upward while typing. Consider using a keyboard tray or a split ergonomic keyboard to maintain a natural wrist position. Similarly, choose an ergonomic mouse that fits the shape of your hand, reducing strain during extended periods of use.

4. Mind Your Posture

Maintaining a proper posture while working at your computer is essential for preventing back pain and musculoskeletal issues. Sit with your back against the chair, and ensure your feet are flat on the ground or a footrest.

Keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and avoid crossing your legs for extended periods. Engage your core muscles to support your spine and shift positions regularly to prevent stiffness.

5. Organize Your Desk Thoughtfully

An organized desk not only enhances productivity but also contributes to an ergonomic setup. Keep frequently used items, such as pens, notepads, and phone, within arm’s reach to avoid excessive stretching and straining.

Use cable management solutions to keep cords and cables tidy and prevent tripping hazards. Clutter-free surroundings promote a calmer work environment and a clear mind.

Things to Remember

By implementing these simple yet effective ergonomic principles, you can transform your office computer desk into a space that fosters comfort, productivity, and overall well-being. Investing in a suitable desk and chair, positioning your monitor correctly, and prioritizing a proper keyboard and mouse setup will go a long way in reducing the risk of injury associated with prolonged computer use.

Remember to maintain good posture and take regular breaks to stretch and relax your muscles. Creating an ergonomic office computer desk setup isn’t just about productivity – it’s an investment in your long-term health and happiness.

More Tools & Resources from Peak Ergonomics
Contact Us About Reducing Workplace Injuries
Healthy Employees are the Bottom Line! – Learn More!

Related Video Resource:

David Zhang. (2017, May 11). 5 ways you’re sitting wrong at your desk – Computer Desk Setup Ergonomics