Posted by: ugleepen | October 15, 2009

October is National Ergonomics Month

In honor of October being National Ergonomics Month, let’s take a look at the derivation of the word Ergonomic. From the Greek words: ergon, meaning work, and nomoi, meaning natural laws, ergonomics literally means the science of work. Those who strive to create an ergonomic product or workspace will study workers, how work is done and how work can be done better in an effort to make things comfortable and efficient.

In an effort to provide comfort and efficiency to your work day, here’s some tips to follow:

Don’t Over Grip!
A tight “pinch grip”, a style which many use to grip a pen, can be inefficient and damaging when used for other tasks like picking up files or using hand tools. It causes excessive fatigue and strain on muscles and tendons in the fingers and hands. How to alleviate this?

  • Use Your Whole Hand
    By changing your hand position to that of a “power grip”, a style handshake position, you end up using the entire hand instead of just the fingers. So, the energy you exert is not concentrated in one area, but instead, spread out to decrease fatigue and improve stamina and efficiency. Hand tools with bent or oversized handles can improve grip position and wrist posture as well as an ergonomic pen with a wider barrel can bring relief to those who experience pain when writing. Also, when possible, use two hands to get the job done, like when you need to pick up heavy files.

Static is Not a Good Thing
As you sit at the computer all day, you are static. Our bodies were designed for movement. A lack of motion to any part of the body increases the static forces in that area. This can result in decreased blood flow and potentially a lack of oxygen to cells. Here’s some ways to keep moving:

  • Take frequent breaks, 30-60 seconds at a time, up to four per hour. There are studies that have prove that this can eliminate the effects of static and improve productivity by up to 15%.
  • Stand up and stretch throughout the day. Be sure to pay attention to the neck, shoulders, and low back. Gravity opposes these areas as you are sitting at the computer.
  • Work away from the computer when possible. Ie.) Do some filing, copying, walk to a colleagues office instead of calling or emailing.
  • Rest your eyes every 15 minutes. Simply look out the window or at a picture across the room for five to ten seconds and you’ll re-energize your eyes.
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