Huffington Post journalist Larry Alton began an article about workplace ergonomics by saying:
“Among employees who spend hours each day in cubicles and offices, pecking away at keyboards, slouching in cheap desk chairs, and squinting at bright screens, chronic pain is incredibly prevalent. “
The good news is that once you have identified some of the ergonomic problems with your “cubicle” job, you can also identify some of the ergonomic solutions.
Did you know that chronic pain in the workplace costs businesses between $297.4 billion and $333.5 billion in lost productivity? Not to mention the suffering of you, the employee.
Causes of Chronic Pain in the Workplace
The most commonly reported issues — headaches, back and neck pain, and arthritis — can be directly related to one or more of the following basic problems, says Alton.
Likely the number one cause of chronic pain in the workplace, poor posture leads to back and neck issues, headaches, and other musculoskeletal problems. In fact, learning how to correct bad desk posture can alleviate existing pain almost immediately.
When looking at the common causes of wrist pain, muscle strains, or chronic joint issues, long-term, repetitive motion is almost always one of the culprits. According to The Hand and Wrist Institute, “Carpal tunnel syndrome is most often seen in people whose occupations require … the constant use of computer keyboards and the computer mouse. “
For people with already-poor eyesight, straining to see a computer screen only exacerbates existing symptoms and can lead to chronic headaches and tension.
Tips for Eliminating and Reducing Pain
Alton offers the following tips on how to put ergonomics to good use in your workplace, to eliminate pain and reclaim your productivity:
Standing desks have come a long way and are no longer considered taboo or strange. In fact, you’d be surprised to learn how many of your peers are already using them. Depending on the model you choose, most standing desks are actually devices you place on top of an existing desk. You can then raise or lower them to your desired height — allowing you to sit, stand, or alternate between the two.
Related to the dangers of sitting for long periods of time, a standing desk may help people fight cardiovascular disease, obesity, and pain related to poor posture.
An investment in an ergonomic keyboard may help by allowing you to keep your chest open, with shoulders drawn back, and the wrists in a more neutral position.
Even if it means coming into work earlier or leaving a little later, it’s worth taking 30 minutes to break up your sedentary routine during the day. A little bit of cardio can increase circulation, loosen stiff joints, and release powerful pain-killing endorphins.
Be Proactive — Not Reactive
The idea is to be proactive when it comes to workplace pain, rather than reactive. By implementing these tips now — whether or not you’re already experiencing symptoms or issues — you can ensure you’ll be happier, healthier, and exponentially more productive for years to come.
Source: Larry Alton, Huffington Post