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What Is Ergonomics And How Do You Use It to Maximise Productivity

Updated: Jan 7

by Cheng Mun. |

When the word, ‘Ergonomics’ is mentioned, most of us associate it with swivelling chairs with high-tech features, multiple buttons for you to adjust the different parts of the chair and fit your bodies – EXTREMELY WELL. Some of us may think of an extended laptop stand that keeps your laptop upright, which helps you to type easier.

Ergonomics is beyond comfy chairs – to properly define it, Dohnrmann Consulting, Australia’s leading safety and ergonomics experts, described Ergonomics “as the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products and systems so that they fit the people who use them”. In other words, Ergonomics involve the customization of different products, furniture and instruments according to different people’s body height, weight, posture to maximize their productivity. Without ergonomics, typical “illnesses” are seen at the workplace, ie. back pain, shoulder pain, stiff necks etc – all of these are caused by the lack of ergonomics and the right body posture, resulting in devastating health effects.

Ergonomics is no rocket science – it does not require a normal person like us to do extensive studies in order to leverage on the benefits of ergonomics to improve our productivity. Here are some tips to ride on ergonomics to make ourselves productive:

1. Reduce the PAIN

We all know that a bad chair causes back pain, and we also know that sitting hunchback will result in stiff necks, while most of us are also aware that staring at digital devices will strain our eyes. While extensive pain causes medical concerns, the tingling, stiff and minor pain that we experience daily does impact our productivity by moving our focus, TO the pain, and AWAY from our work. It also causes fatigue, as we might suffer from pain during sleep.

Ergonomics comes in handy to tackle these issues. In the market, ergonomic furniture has become more common nowadays. Invest in an ergonomic chair to solve lower back problems, explore the possibilities of installing a larger monitor to help relieve eye strain, and position laptops in an angle that doesn’t hurt the carpal tunnel and our poor, whining, stiff necks. With the help of the right ergonomic furniture, we'll be able to correct our postures (which leads to better body shape too!) and eliminate the pain. With lower back pain, eye strains, and stiff necks out of the place, we can now stay focused on our tasks at work, leading to better work productivity and beyond.

2. Skip the REPEAT

Ergonomics isn’t just about correcting body postures – it’s also about reducing the number of repetitive actions that are to be taken, which, in a way, contributes to unnecessary load on your limbs, joints and bodies.

Just imagine – your frequently-accessed documents are being placed in an inconvenient location which requires you to bend down, access the files and this process is repeated so many times in a day that you’ve lost count. It is, indeed, a PAINFUL process! The constant, repetitive movements will take a toll on your body, in addition to the extensive time needed to access the files.

So, why not leverage the concept of ergonomics? In ergonomics, it is all about personalization, finding what is best for the user through modifications and rearrangements. So, it’s time to declutter and rearrange your workplace by placing items in easily-accessible locations to minimize the needs of you reaching out, bending down and twisting around – with this, you kill two birds with one stone – you’ve reduced your repetitive movements, and you’ve increased the speed of work significantly.


There’s another interesting part of ergonomics that often lacks attention from users – throughout the process of practising workplace ergonomics, not only is your physical wellbeing is taken care of; indirectly, ergonomics leads us to a better mental state, keeping our minds sharp, resulting in better focus at our workplace. As we create a comfortable, accessible and convenient workplace for ourselves through the practice of ergonomics, we eliminate the pain factor, the need for repetitive actions and the excessive efforts to get things done. These help us to be more productive. As the saying goes, “To Live, a Man needs Food, Water and A Sharp Mind”. Having a sharp mind at work is equally as important as your breakfast to start the day!

In some countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, ergonomics are now becoming more important to the workplace, where regulations have also been placed to ensure that employers include ergonomics as part of employees’ wellbeing, to reduce workplace injuries. Apart from the workplace, ergonomics does play a role in our overall health & wellbeing. From the distance between your sofa and the TV in your living room to the arrangement of cabinets in your kitchen, ergonomics concepts can be applied to almost everything around us.

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