Have you ever felt your work space could be more comfortable, but were unsure of the solution? UTMB’s certified ergonomics specialist Lela Lockett-Ware may be your answer.
She can evaluate your work space and make recommendations to improve your comfort and functionality. Ergonomics is a science, which deals with designing and arranging things so people can use them easily and safely.
Recommendations may include adjusting your chair or the addition of a computer monitor stand, wrist pillow or foot rest. The goal is to make your workspace conducive for your productivity and health.
“In some cases, new office supplies or equipment isn’t necessary,” said Lockett-Ware. “I had one group that complained that their chairs were uncomfortable, but they simply didn’t know how to adjust them to a comfortable position.”
Once the group was educated on how to adjust their chairs, their problem was solved.
Education is often the key to a successful ergonomics plan. Physical comfort can often be accomplished by following Lockett-Ware’s tips for happy ergonomics:
- Stretch at least three times a day. In the morning before you begin working, in the afternoon and at the end of your workday. Click the thumbnail below and choose four stretches.
- Take a break. Stand up and walk around every 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you work in a seated position all day. Listen to your body; if you experience pain or discomfort, take a break.
- Don’t cross or sit on your leg(s). It restricts blood flow and can cause numbness and tingling.
- Sit back in your chair. Avoid leaning forward to prevent back strain or discomfort.
After having upper-back surgery, senior communications specialist Mary Ann Hellinghausen began using a sit-to-stand workstation, after a consultation with Lockett-Ware. The set-up allows her to stand while working at her computer, but can adjust to a sitting position when needed. In addition, a cushioned floor mat supports Hellinghausen’s back and feet.
“Now, for most of the day when I am working on the computer, I am in a standing position,’’ she said. “It has helped relieve tension in my back and I hope it will prevent further back problems down the road.”
“The monitor and floor mat, have played a crucial part in my successful recovery and ability to function with ease,” said Hellinghausen.
You don’t have to be injured or returning from surgery to receive an ergonomics evaluation. “It’s about being comfortable in your work space,” said Lockett-Ware.
Any UTMB employee can receive a no-cost ergonomics consultation of their work space. Simply complete the ergonomics worksite evaluation form, located on the human resources forms library page in the employee injury management section, to get started.