Friday, February 08, 2008

Ergonomic Furniture Shown To Increase Productivity

Laptops add to the problem ...

"Ergonomic Furniture Shown To Increase Productivity

Office managers are just now finding out what chiropractors have known for a long time, that the ergonomics of office furniture—chairs, desks, and computer stations—have a direct effect upon workers’ health and productivity.

In past years, chiropractors have witnessed a trend in which office-related pains have changed from traditional lower back problems to “modern” computer-induced upper back and neck problems.

Because of increased attention paid to ergonomics, office interior designers also have adapted office layouts that now include space for ergonomic considerations.

“There’s a larger percentage of people with office related pain that come into my office” than in the past, said Dr. Franklin Forman, a practitioner at Chiropractic Medicine and Associates in Wheaton. Board certified in occupational health, he estimates that 40 percent of his patients have pain associated with work-related problems, often from bad posture.

“Years ago 80 percent of the people coming into the office had lower back problems,” Forman said. “Now, 50 percent come in with upper back and neck problems.”

The diagnosis is that too many office workers work on laptop computers— not desktops—that workers don’t stretch before work and that they live otherwise sedentary lifestyles.

“People have to consider themselves when they’re at their jobs as if they are athletes,” said Forman. “It’s important to stretch prior to and during the job just as an athlete does a pre and post stretch during an event.”

His recommendation is to take appropriate breaks during work and to do stretching exercises with arms and the upper body. Not only will this alleviate pain, but stretching also has been proven to increase energy and lower stress as well.

The type of computer one works on also has an affect on one’s posture. The ergonomic setup of a computer work area, then, is very important, said Forman.

“Laptop computers as opposed to more stationary computers cause problems,” Forman said. With laptops, the tendency is to bring one’s head forward, to hunch over and, in so doing, harm the neck."    (Continued via The Business Ledger)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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