There’s a sense of mystery in the unfamiliar field of ergonomics. Is ergonomics just about chair height and posture at work? Does it require expensive office equipment? And does it really matter, anyway?
In honor of National Ergonomics Month, we’re breaking down the top ergonomic myths with our resident expert, Carrie Schmitz, Senior Manager of Human Factors & Ergonomics Research, AOEAS, CHC. Each week, we’ll describe a common myth and share where Ergotron stands based on our extensive company history and the latest research. Be sure to check back next week for a new myth that we debunk.
MYTH: People don’t care about ergonomics.
Here’s where we stand:
Often called “the science of everyday life,” ergonomic principals apply to any area where people work or play. Everything from the design of a golf club, the grip on a pair of scissors and the cockpit of a jet plane involve ergonomics for both comfort and protection from harm, with the underlying goal of prevention before treatment.
Still, sales people often complain that customers don’t care about ergonomics. If you’re like most people, ergonomics remains an abstract concept until you start to feel weakness in your wrist or a pain in your shoulder. Even after a visit with your doctor, you may not realize that bad ergonomics led to that situation. It’s especially true of musculoskeletal issues related to computer use.
After 20 years in the ergonomics industry, my experience shows that it’s at an individual level that the true value of ergonomics becomes apparent. People appreciate learning about the factors that can make their work more comfortable, and once trained in basic ergonomic principals, they are eager to practice their new-found skills in their own environment.
Ergonomic interventions, like wellness programs, depend on engagement to be successful. When company leaders communicate the importance of being safe, give permission to their people to protect themselves and each other, and serve as good role models, the improvements extend beyond the individual to the company and the community at large. Preventing and treating issues with ergonomic interventions is an expense that will never be wasted.
Of course, not everyone has the luxury of a personal ergonomic evaluation. That’s why Ergotron offers online ergonomic tools to help you do your own workstation customization. Our Workspace Planner provides guidance on locating the best monitor and keyboard based on your stature. Part of our mission at Ergotron is to educate people on the benefits of ergonomic, so we’re glad to share this popular tool.
Stay tuned for next week’s myth: Sitting is the new smoking. See you then!
Carrie oversees ergonomics research and outreach, working closely with global researchers to advance knowledge around the health and well-being benefits of sit-stand activity.