10 Ergonomics Tips You Should Know As An EntrepreneurOluwaseun Olayisade
As an entrepreneur if you do not know these ergonomics tips you are setting yourself up for failure.
Ergonomics and entrepreneurship work hand in hand. Entrepreneurship cannot fully be discussed if it’s not done in conjunction with ergonomics. This said let us dissect these ergonomics tips, its benefits to your business and your loss if you do not take cognizance of it.
As an entrepreneur you need to understand ergonomics and its benefits not just to you but also to your staff and customers.
Ergonomics is the science of understanding human interaction with other elements of a system to optimize human well-being and the system’s performance.
It is also the understanding of how human factors and environmental factors interact.
How the human, equipment and environment fits. The process of ensuring the work environment fits the well-being of employees and not forcing employees to work under conditions that affect their health adversely.
As an entrepreneur ergonomics is necessary to study how the human factor, technology (equipment, furniture, pace of work) and environment (office, work space, market place) suit each other to give the customer the best experience.
They are all interwoven; how comfortable the position you sit at work is, how long you sit at a stretch, the amount of time spent performing each task, how long you stand at a stretch, the position of your desk and chair, the position of the PC or laptop and the level of your productivity.
As an entrepreneur your business is people based therefore it is important to empathize with people (staff, contractors and clients). To ensure that your staff and contractors work under the best conditions which in turn allows them to better satisfy the customers.
There are a lot of write ups online as to how ergonomics benefits the entrepreneur but I am taking it a step further to say it also affects and benefits the customers. Anything that helps to increase efficiency of staff will have a ripple effect on the customer and business. Benefits such as:
- Ergonomics increases productivity and efficiency. Also makes you and everyone involved in the business healthy.
- Ergonomics when applied to your work environment helps you to reduce or totally avoid Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) especially for home based businesses.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a work related condition in which pains and impairment are caused to the body due to prolonged and excessive repetitive actions, typically to the tendons and muscles involved.
- Designing your office ergonomically does not just keep you in good health but it makes you take less time off work thereby allowing you more time to perform tasks. Spending more time to work smartly increases productivity thereby creating satisfactory customer experience.
Most people running a home based business tend to take things for granted and work from their couch or bed forgetting the long term effects of this on their back, shoulder, hands, waist and neck. These ergonomics tips are to help you realize that doing this is wrong on all levels. Rather create a work space in your home.
I have personal experiences as to the work place not being ergonomically arranged. I worked at an aviation services company where I did not sit properly and had to sit for long hours on end.
Before each day ended I would have splitting headaches, eye ache and excruciating back and waist pain. I popped a lot of painkillers to dull the pain.
I reported this often but no solution was provided so each day ended in pains. Overtime I snapped a lot and lost interest in my job.
The funny thing is the company had a Health, Safety and Environment Management (HSE) document but it did not include anything about ergonomics. The questions are how current were they and how concerned about the employees were they?
I also worked at an Agro- allied company where we sat hours on end staring at the computer screen at awkward angles. The result; excruciating pain. I kept looking for a masseuse to straighten me out week in week out.
This company did not even have provisions for HSE (Health, Safety and Environment Management) or a Safety Manager despite being a manufacturing company. No consideration for the well-being of the staff.
As an entrepreneur you should regularly review the work conditions of your staff and contractors to make sure it does not affect their health. Conditions such as:
• Sitting in the same position for more than two hours at a time.
• Handling heavy objects for hours on end.
• Being in awkward positions for more than two hours at a time.
• Performing the same motion for more than two hours at a time.
• Staring at the laptop or PC screen for long hours.
Being ergonomic can be quite expensive for small and medium businesses especially in terms of purchasing ergonomics furniture but on the long run it is quite cheap.
It is cheaper in terms of staff not staying away from work to treat ailments thereby getting more work done.
As an entrepreneur it is left to you to decide if the initial costs of ergonomics in your business is worth it. Though it is important for you to realize early on that it is a long term investment.
For the good of everyone when designing your work space do not let aesthetics be the bane rather focus on investing in the well-being of everyone. Thereby resulting in the happiness of your customers due to buying from a company that has happy staff and not grumpy ones.
You can make changes with these ergonomics tips to ensure this. These 10 ergonomics tips are widely agreed upon by ergonomics experts:
• Learn to take breaks, walk around, stand for a while and interchange the hand that clicks the mouse.
• Make the sitting area quite comfortable. Choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Sit in a way that allows your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest. Also ensure your thighs are parallel to the floor.
• Ensure the desks are positioned such that your upper arms are vertically hanging while typing at your keyboard.
• Upon returning to your seat after each break alternate your posture so some of the tissue elasticity that protects the joints can return.
• Place the phone on speaker or use a headset if you have to talk on the phone and type at the same. Do not cradle the phone between your head and neck.
• Keep underneath the desk clear; create space for your knees, thighs and feet. If the desk is too low and not adjustable place boards or blocks under the desk legs. Also solve this by raising your chair.
• Ensure the monitor is directly in front of you precisely an arm’s length away. The screen top should be at or a little below eye level.
• Position the monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side thereby you avoid reflections. Use screens of good quality.
• Look away from the computer screen every 15-20 minutes to relax and readjust your eyes.
• Ensure that the computer is not backed by light from a window or bright light.
It will surprise you that little changes as these will tremendously improve your work conditions.
As a leader in the work place it is left to you to educate your staff on ergonomics tips and its benefits. This gives them the assurance that you do not just need them to make you money but you also need them to be healthy while at it. Thereby increasing their confidence in you as an employer. Once you have their confidence as an employer you automatically get the best of them. When this happens you know the rest of the story.
The relationship between ergonomics and entrepreneurship cannot be overlooked. Hence it is imperative you explore it and its benefits.
If you have tried other ergonomics tips that worked kindly tell us in the comments section.
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