"Meeting planning means stress, whether you're on the road, on a fam trip, or back at the office trying to catch up. But taking an ergonomic approach can help protect your health—and the health of your delegates—at the office and at meetings.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics, also called human factors analysis or human factors engineering, comes from the Greek for "the study of work." Designers consider ergonomics when deciding how to arrange and design devices, machines, or workspaces so that people and things interact safely and efficiently.
Adopting an ergonomic approach means working comfortably and avoiding health issues like back problems and repetitive stress injuries. Meeting sites, from the Hotel Palomar Dallas to the Pullman Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport and the Hilton Antwerp, emphasize their ergonomic approach, such as offering meeting rooms with ergonomic seating.
But a healthy work or meeting environment isn't just about equipment. An easy way to prevent back pain, for example, is to simply get up and stretch every hour or so. While you may hit some resistance, encouraging delegates to stand up and stretch for a minute or two can make a big difference in relieving stress and pressure on the back.
When Traveling, Experts Suggest:
* Limit lifting: E-mail those handouts and print them on site, rather than lug them.
* Just say no to hauling: Rent equipment like data projectors on site, instead of carrying them.
* Move around the plane if flight attendants let you; if not, at least move your feet and legs.
* Noise-canceling headsets cut the noise and tune out talkative seatmates.
* Never carry your luggage: Use curbside check-in at the airport and, when you arrive at your destination after hours of stiffening travel on a plane, use the hotel bellman to save strain. Consider prepaying for bellman services and let delegates know, so they don't strain reaching into their pocketbooks.
At the meeting site:
* Cords that are not taped down are tripping hazards; check your prospective AV group in action to be sure they don't cut corners this way.
* Standing behind the lectern is fatiguing, and a moving speaker keeps the audience alert.
* Check with the site to see if it has ergonomic seating, and don't ask delegates to sit still for four hours.
* Don't over-schedule; late dinners, drinking, and dancing are fun, but often not the delegate's usual routine, so allow time for rest and recreation." (Continued via Successful Meetings, Michael Goldstein) [Ergonomics Resources]