ErgoEquip breakfast club

Thank you to our ‘breakfast clubbers’ that attended our Eye health in the workplace workshop last week, hopefully we busted a few myths and answered some commonly asked questions around vision and eyesight.

One of main questions our expert for the day, Greg from Specsavers gets asked is what can be done about visual fatigue/ dry eyes and how do we help eye muscles recover, the answer is probably not what you would class as simple, but just like our bodies, movement and stretching is very important for our eyes as well.  The rule of 20, this is a 20 second refocus of the eyes looking at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes throughout the day, blinking is equally important as there is no doubt that when we are staring at a screen for long periods our blink frequency does decrease, also, cutting down looking at mobile devices on our journey to and from work and in bed at night before going to sleep can also have a beneficial effect.  Of course if you are worried the best advice is to go and get your eyes checked by a professional, whether that is your GP or an optometrist.

We are very much looking forward to the next breakfast club topic which is the Standing debate, on April 3rd,  a subject that is a pretty hot topic currently.

 

Standing desks are bad for you

What people are getting wrong about Standing Desks.

 

There have been some negative reports of Standing Desks in the media recently. A study released by the International Journal of Epidemiology claims that they have found sitting for long periods is not associated with an increased mortality risk any more than any sedentary activity. Cue a lot of articles circulating claiming sit/stand desks are a waste of money, are no better for your health etc. The study suggests the real problem is how little physical activity people get during the day and the focus should shift from standing at work to increasing daily exercise. It also acknowledges that the participating group members had “a higher than average daily activity” and their reported mean daily walking time was over double the national average. If the participating group members are already active, the result of how long they’ve spent sitting will differ to those who aren’t as active. Here we address some common complaints occurring about sit/stand desks.

“If sitting doesn’t kill you, why should I stand?”

Hopefully no one sells a sit/stand desk under the pretence that sitting too long will kill you. Using such an extreme scare tactic is misleading. We’re far more concerned about your quality of life and that’s where a sit/stand desk is beneficial. Alternating between sitting and standing encourages different muscles to work that wouldn’t otherwise if you sit all day. Standing encourages better posture, activates your core muscles and reduces strain on your lower back, neck and shoulders. Standing will also encourage you to move a little more, which is the ultimate goal!

“Standing all day hurts! It’s causing calf and heel pain.”

The point of a sit/stand desk is NOT to stand for 9 hours a day! The stress will move from your core/lower back to your legs and feet. Any prolonged time in one position will cause muscle aches. Always alternate between sitting and standing to give tense parts of your body a break, increase blood flow and encourage better posture. If your feet hurt, floor mats help distribute your weight and will help relieve pressure on your feet.

“Sit/Stand desks are expensive! I’ll just prop my laptop up with boxes or books.”

Propping your monitor or laptop up with books or boxes is not practical or safe. Using materials that are not sturdy will increase the risk of injury at your workspace.

Remember, sit/stand desks are not bad for you – lack of movement is. Activating different muscles helps prevent injury and hopefully keeps you from being in pain. Sit/stand desks are not offered as a complete solution, but are a way to incorporate more movement into your day. If you have any questions about standing desks or how to improve your workstation, please contact us on 1300 696 696 or enquiries@ergoequip.com.au

Top tips for stretching!

Stretching Factsheet

  • Did you know that the human body is not designed to be seated for extended periods of time?
  • Have you ever felt stiff or sore during the day?
  • Do you find that by the end of the day you feel sore or find it hard to move?
  • Did you know that this soreness is easily preventable?

Did you know?

The muscles of the body are constantly working, even when we are sitting down our muscles work hard to keep us upright. It is important to look after our body as optimal health is vital to wellbeing and work productivity.

What is Flexibility?

Flexibility is a measure of the ability of our muscles to absorb the force of daily activities.

When we spend most of our time sitting down, our muscles may start to build tension as they are not moving regularly.

Benefits of Stretching

  • Regular movement and stretching helps to improve the blood flow to working muscles. This will ensure the muscles stay warm and supple which may assist in alleviating tension that may develop.
  • Warm muscles are less stiff and are going to be able to perform more movement; this will help to reduce the risk of an injury.
  • A wider range of motion will enable you to do more tasks without feeling tightness or soreness.
  • Les soreness and fatigue will boost energy levels and assist in keeping the body active and hopefully pain and injury free!

Working from home – here are Tim’s tips for helping you set yourself up correctly.

  • The workstation must be at a fixed level setup. Kitchen benches, dining rooms tables and bed side tables are not appropriate. The workstation must be a designated desk which provides adequate space and is flat.
  • The chair must be equivalent to that of a standard office chair, at minimum.
  • Adequate Lighting
  • Keyboard within arms distance and off the tilt to promote a neutral, relaxed wrist position.
  • The area should be clear of hazards to maintain a clear workspace
  • The area should be in an area that is readily available to escape in case of fire, have sufficient first aid supplies and have a smoke alarm present.

Top 10 Tips for setting up

  1. Make sure that the area is clear of trip hazards, cables and there is a fire extinguisher, smoke alarm and designated exit route.
  2. Choose a designated room for work
  3. Work on a designated desk that provides adequate space and an even surface
  4. Be sitting in a chair that is office standard. Sitting in the incorrect position may increase risk of tension, fatigue and pain.
  5. Keep frequently used objects within arm’s distance to minimize stretching performed by the shoulders and arms.
  6. Choose an area with adequate lighting, temperature and noise levels.
  7. Place the laptop at height which you look into the top of the screen as this reduces the bending done by the neck and is associated with a higher risk of tension and fatigue.
  8. If using more than once screen, place them at equal height and next to each other.
  9. Take, short and frequent breaks to help offset the tension that may accumulate in working muscles. These breaks only need to be for a minute every half an hour.
  10. Look away from the screen as often as possible; ideally every twenty minutes, into the distance to help eye muscles relax

Laptops…practical or are they causing us injuries???

Laptops have revolutionised the way in which we carry out our computer-based tasks. Their design, based around mobility has however, raised a number of ergonomic dilemmas and potential risks that are greater than those associated with using a more standard desk-top configuration.

  • The fixed screen height and keyboard position cause the user to adopt a compromised ‘C’ shaped posture that places a strain on the neck, spine and associated soft-tissue structures.

  • The smaller screen size places more focal demands on the user, increasing the probability of visual strain
  • The integrated ‘touchpad’ mouse requires fine motor control of just one digit (normally the index finger) that can lead to overuse and secondary development of inflammatory related pains.

Recommendations

  • Ensure you keep conventional laptop use to a minimum especially if not using separate input devices. If you have the option to use a desk-top computer or docking station with separate screen and input devices then this is normally safer.
  • Try to use separate input devices when possible and raise the screen up on a platform (or ergonomic laptop stand)
  • Avoid using the laptop on your lap and/or in compromised spaces like public transport or the car if possible. If it can’t be avoided shorten the time between breaks to no more than 20mins.
  • If possible, transport data using a small storage device like a memory stick rather than carrying your laptop between home and work every day.

The mouse – did you know the average computer user clicks thousands of times a day?

The mouse is one of the most commonly used devices at the workstation. It is therefore very important not to use an incorrectly designed or poorly positioned mouse, as this could lead to long term injuries such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

What is an ergonomic mouse?

An ergonomically designed mouse reduces the risk of injury by ensuring that the mouse fits the natural shape of the hand. Below are just a few tips to help maintain your comfort levels during mouse use:

  1. Ensure that you are using a mouse that suitable fits your hand taking into consideration mouse size and shape.
  2. Ensure that the mouse is positioned as close to the midline of the body as possible to help reduce extension of the arm.
  3. Try to maintain a relaxed wrist posture whenever possible to reduce the pressure exerted on the tissues of the hand and wrist.
  4. Try to rotate the tasks you are undertaking at work. If possible, try to vary mouse based tasks with typing and other tasks to reduce prolonged periods of mouse use.