When people hear the word “ergonomics,” they mostly focus on nice office ergonomic chairs, a fancy-looking keyboard, and the like. But in reality, ergonomics is embedded in different areas of people’s lives. Even the shape of the handle of a badminton racket is ergonomically designed for easy grip during play.
A 2006 survey found that 77 percent of office workers in the U.S. think that ergonomics in the office is important. And this is why business owners pay extra attention to implementing ergonomics in the workplace through furniture and gadgets.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most employees work from home. This setup may continue for months or years. Unfortunately, most employees don’t have an ergonomic setup at home. And they may not be willing to create one. The primary reason is the price tag of ergonomic furniture and gadgets. Ergonomic furniture accommodates certain needs. So they cost more to make and have a pricier tag.
But despite the price tag, ergonomic furniture and gadgets are worth every penny, given the role they play in one’s health. The following health problems arise when people don’t care about ergonomics while working from home:
When a work-from-home employee works long hours, they’ll be sitting for several consecutive hours. And without proper ergonomics, they’ll experience body pain that, if not addressed immediately, can lead to problems in the musculoskeletal system.
According to OSHA, some of the most common musculoskeletal disorders associated with poor ergonomics include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, rotator cuff injuries, and so on. These disorders are expensive to treat. For example, someone with a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome may need surgery to be cured. Also, musculoskeletal disorders can become a hurdle to living a normal life since they affect mobility.
At work, one of the most frequently injured body parts is the back. Without an ergonomic setup, an employee won’t be able to maintain the right posture. For example, someone who uses a laptop without an external keyboard and mouse will likely slouch to meet the laptop’s monitor. And doing this can be painful.
At home, the employee might use an ordinary chair while they work, such as a monoblock chair or a dining chair. But these chairs don’t have lumbar support. Sitting for long hours will hurt the employee’s lower back.
Back pain can result in muscle strain, osteoporosis, sciatica, lumbar disk disease, and many other health conditions. Treating these conditions takes time and money. And some can become chronic.
Before things get worse, the employee should look past the price of ergonomic furniture and gadgets. They can consider these things an investment to prevent health problems. Though if they do start to feel back pain more frequently, they need to seek chiropractic care to address the problem before it gets worse.
The link may not seem obvious, but poor ergonomics can cause headaches in the long term. The most common headache associated with ergonomics is called cervicogenic headache, which originates from the next. Then the pain is felt at the back of the head, behind the eyes, and/or around the forehead and temples. An employee can experience a cervicogenic headache when they don’t have good posture since their neck is unsupported.
This is another condition that can be prevented by proper ergonomics, thus justifying its cost. Having constant headaches affects productivity and quality of work. It can also spoil an employee’s mood, which then affects their relationship with their coworkers and clients. Not to mention, treating a headache can be costly, especially if it happens frequently.
Trigger finger is a condition where a person’s fingers can get stuck in a bent position. People who work computer jobs have a higher risk of this condition since they use their hands and fingers for long hours a day by typing on the computer and scrolling using a mouse. This condition limits a person’s ability to move their hands. It also makes other daily activities difficult to perform.
Having an ergonomic mouse will help prevent this condition. But it’s quite rare and expensive. Also, an ergonomic mouse often has an unconventional shape. And people who are used to a normal mouse may find it difficult to use. Still, it’s a worthy purchase if it can help someone prevent a serious health condition that can affect them for many years.
Ergonomics does come with a price tag. But one should consider ergonomic furniture and gadgets as a personal investment. Apart from eating properly and staying active, an ergonomic home office will help employees keep themselves healthy.