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Ergonomics – Are You Sitting Comfortably?

 

Many people who use IT for prolonged periods for work or leisure will, at some point, suffer from some kind of musculoskeletal problem, caused by lack of consideration for ergonomics and posture, either at their workplace or at home.

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At the Geek Guru offices, we’ve experienced these problems just like anyone else, and we’ve had the opportunity to try out some devices and methods of solving them. While we don’t sell them, it is something that we find our clients ask about fairly frequently. We find ourselves recommending ideas, methods and products that might help them. So, we thought, why not put together some information about the causes, effects and solutions we’ve found based on our experiences and knowledge? We’re not healthcare professionals, but we do have quite a bit of experience of what it’s like to sit at a computer for a long time!

It’s something that a lot of people may not think about, but good ergonomics is something that can have a drastically positive impact on mood, focus, performance and productivity.

There’s a whole spectrum of musculoskeletal problems that can arise from poor ergonomics coupled with prolonged use of IT equipment.

All IT usage should be considered when it comes to ergonomics and health. Using a laptop or mobile device makes you just as susceptible to these problems as someone else, if not more so sometimes, as people have a tendency to slouch over a laptop or spend large amounts of time with their heads held looking down at a mobile or tablet screen – which is a lot of people when you consider that tablets and slates accounted for almost a quarter of computer sales in 2012.

Back, neck and shoulder problems are some of the most commonly reported problems, followed by arm and hand problems. RSI (or repetitive strain injury) is more common than many people realise, and is costing employers more than £20 billion in lost work time every year.

Here’s a few statistics to put this in perspective:

  • 55% of UK work-related illnesses are musculoskeletal disorders.
  • 4.7 Million work days are lost each year due to RSI-related problems.
  • More than 448,000 British workers surer from RSI.
  • 1 in 3 regular computer users may have symptoms of RSI.
  • 6 people leave their jobs each day due to a musculoskeletal disorder.

Sources: rsiaction.org.uk, rsi-solutions.co.uk, csp.org.uk

Of course, there are many products you can buy to improve your posture or reduce pressure on certain areas of your body, but there are many simple steps that you can take to make your workplace more comfortable.

This set of printable postcards from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is a good place to start for an instant improvement. It includes a set of exercises you can use in order to stretch out aching muscles or joints.

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If this has piqued your interest, check out the rest of our posts this week where we’ll be going into a bit more depth on ergonomics for desktop and mobile computing, and explaining some of the things you can do to make yourself and your colleagues or employees more comfortable at work.

For IT advice or information, or to see what we could do for your business, give us a call on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Posted on by Emily
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