Headaches and pains can cause huge losses in productivity in most workplace environments. By adhering to some simple ergonomic principles, businesses are likely to solve most if not all of their migraine-related problems.
Health experts agree: migraine are responsible for, at the very least, billions of dollars in lost productivity each year, in the United States. The same could arguably be said of the States’ cousin to the North, in relative terms. The phenomenon known as attending work while being sick or in pain, and in essence doing little to no work, is so prevalent that a keyword was coined specifically for it: presenteeism.
Obviously, the cause of this phenomenon can sometimes be attributed to factors that cannot be controller by the employer. That being said, a significant number of headaches are a direct result of the workers’ immediate environment while they’re on the clock. A workstation that is not suited for long uninterrupted hours, seated in front of a computer, would be a good example.
This is where ergonomic principles should kick in. These principles are at the heart of what most specialized technical furniture specialists aim to do with their work. By harmonizing the work and the work area – which is, in essence, what ergonomics is all about – these businesses are working towards getting rid of unnecessary eye fatigue, headaches, neck and back pains, tendinitis, etc.
Generally speaking, most of the pains caused by an inadequate workplace are due to bad posture. An employee’s work focus should be straight in front of him, with little to no contortion required. Head and neck should be straight when the gaze is locked on the screen. Arms should be bent at an angle of at least 90 degrees with the surface, with the forearms held parallel with the keyboard shelf, when the user is typing on the keyboard. And even then, one should try to get up and move a little at least 2 or 3 times per hour.
Most of these problems are easy to correct if you’re using the right tools and if you pay attention to the important details. Ergonomic products, such as monitor supports, keyboard and mouse supports, ergonomic chairs and adjustable surfaces, are all steps in the right direction when one wishes to minimize the risks of presenteeism.
From a more global standpoint, so-called workplace “climate” plays an integral part in ergonomics. Controlling the luminosity, noise and temperature of the immediate environment should not be a luxury, but a prerequisite if one aims to get the most out of its workforce, while also lowering the number of aches and pains.
The harmony between mind, body and work may have a cost, but it’s certainly way more affordable than presenteeism, or absenteeism for that matter!