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How to improve your workstation for efficiency and productivity.

How to improve your workstation for efficiency and productivity.

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics - How to improve your workstation for efficiency and productivity.

“Businesses report an average increase of 25% in productivity and a 67% reduction in errors after an ergonomic assessment” according to WSDLI.

Your job performance is greatly affected by how well your workstation is arranged. If you work in clutter, with distraction, or without proper ergonomics, then you are setting yourself up to be less efficient in the workplace.

Get organized in 5 steps:

  1. Start by throwing out everything you don’t need.  It could take a while to throw away the clutter at your workstation, however, you should take the day to do this until only the essentials are left.
  2. Use physical boxes and trays for paperwork. Purchase a tray or use an empty box to create 3 separate boxes: incoming paperwork, paperwork you’re working on, and paperwork that is finished. Place your inbox and outbox near the entrance of your workstation for easy delivery and retrieval.
  3. Put unnecessary items out of sight. Items like your phone charger, your sunglasses, or your wallet may be essential to you, but not to your work. Put these items in a drawer for safe keeping and less clutter. Additionally, put items like stamps, tape, or staplers in a drawer of their own when not being used.
  4. Throw stuff away! Instead of hording all that old paperwork, get a big trash can that you can throw all of it in and keep your mind focused on the job.
  5. Organize your computer desktop. It may not be physical clutter, but if your desktop screen is littered with icons of random files and shortcuts, then you will have a harder time working efficiently. Create folders, delete old files, and establish a system to make it easy to find the files and programs you need.

Get rid of distractions.

Identify distractions and eliminate them during times when you need to focus.

This could be as simple as closing your door (if your office has one) or turning off e-mail notifications. It may sound scary to make yourself unavailable, but most jobs don’t require instant response to e-mails. In fact, it is recommended to designate specific times of the workday for e-mails and texts.

Lastly, schedule a time to check-in with yourself and note how much work you have accomplished so far. If you’re behind due to distractions, consider refining your strategy until you’re satisfied with your pace of work.

Invest in a comfortable workstation.

Does your workstation have an ergonomic mouse and keyboard? Is your computer monitor, desk, and chair adjusted properly for your height? If you don’t know, then you may want to reach out to your office administrator or human resources director to find out. If you are the manager or admin, then be sure you’ve acquainted yourself with the best ergonomics practices and ergonomics gadgets to avoid injury.

The best way to setup your workstation is by investing in an ergonomics assessment. An ergonomics professional will design a workstation that will allow employees to work faster with less effort. Proper posture, fewer motions, less difficult reaches, and less exertion means efficient employees and a higher quality product.  “Businesses report an average increase of 25% in productivity and a 67% reduction in errors after an ergonomic assessment” according to WSDLI.

Don’t be afraid of investing in a comfortable work environment, it will make your office happier and more productive, which pays off in the long run.

According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry, “on average, an ergonomics assessment will pay for itself in about 8.4 months” due to more efficient and happier workers. In fact, happiness alone “led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive” according to the University of Warwick,

In conclusion

Go the extra mile by organizing your workstation, removing distractions, and investing in proper ergonomics evaluations or ergonomics tools. You and your co-workers will work faster, for longer periods of time, and experience less pain in your wrists, back, neck, and hands due to a proper workstation setup.

Share or print out these tips for the rest of the office workers or employees and for more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for ergonomics guidance.


Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Arcata California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

Always Clean Your Spills at Work

Always Clean Your Spills at Work

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and Arcata California)

Ergonomics Tips: Always Clean Spills at Work to Avoid Slip and Fall Injury

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most general industry incidents involve slips, trips, and falls. 

We’ve all had our clumsy spills in the office, but it’s important to understand that cleaning a spill is serious business. It may be tempting to leave the small spill for the janitor to find, but that small spill could lead to a major slip and fall injury.

According to the National Safety Council (2011), “research finds that ‘fall from the same level injury’ is one of the highest injury causes” in the workplace.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Stay proactive at the office

Always clean up spills that you see, even if it wasn’t your fault. Stay proactive, clean all spills immediately, and post proper hazard signs on wet surfaces that are being cleaned to prevent slips.

Also, be mindful that not all slips will come from spilt beverages, so it is important to keep an eye out for them while you walk around the office.

For example, wet floors from rain, exposed cords, unstable work surfaces, uneven floors, loose rugs, cluttered areas, or even dusty areas may cause employees to slip and injure themselves.

To prevent tripping, be sure not to allow any clutter (like boxes) to enter any walking paths of the office. Be sure that all tripping hazards like phone or electrical cables are properly installed and tucked away.

Make sure your HR Department has an office safety plan

OSHA mandates that employers shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards, so make sure your Human Resources department has developed an office safety plan.

Every office safety plan should be reviewed annually and updated whenever changes in procedures or the office environment could create new hazards or impact existing ones.

Additionally, posting reminders near food and drink stations is a great idea.

In conclusion, stay educated.

Stay educated by researching common office safety hazards to help prevent work related injuries. To learn more about work safety issues, visit us at SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

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3 Reasons Every Workplace Needs an Ergonomics Assessment

3 Reasons Every Workplace Needs an Ergonomics Assessment

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

 

Ergonomics: “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely, called also biotechnology, human engineering, human factors, ergonomic” as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Whether you work in an industrial warehouse or an office, every workplace should have an ergonomics assessment done. An ergonomics assessment (sometimes referred to as workstation assessments) will ensure that your office is not only safer to work in, but more productive and more efficient as well.

An ergonomics assessment is designed to lower risk of injury and improve employee productivity by ensuring that a worker’s workspace is ergonomically sound.

Below are just a few of the many reasons every workplace needs an ergonomics assessment:

1. An ergonomics assessment will save your company money in the long run.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

While it may be tempting to save money by not using an expert to assess your workstation, it will pay off in the long run.  Businesses will save money when there is less workplace injury, less compensation claims, more efficient workers, and lower insurance.

According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry, “on average an ergonomics assessment will pay for itself in about 8.4 months.”

2. Productivity and the quality of your product will improve.

An ergonomics assessment of a workstation will allow employees to work faster with less effort. Proper posture, fewer motions, less difficult reaches, and less exertion means efficient employees and a higher quality product.

 “Businesses report an average increase of 25% in productivity and a 67% reduction in errors after an ergonomic assessment” according to WSDLI.

3. Your employees will love you for it!

Employees will appreciate the effort that your company invests into ensuring that they have a healthy, safe, and productive workplace. Employees perform their tasks every day, so they know when certain injuries or pains could have been prevented by proper equipment and a proper ergonomic assessment.

You may even receive a spike in productivity from their happiness alone. According to the University of Warwick, “happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.”

In conclusion

An ergonomics assessment not only ensures a safer work place, but also improves productivity and creates a positive work environment filled with happy workers.  If the cost is an issue, keep in mind that investing in a better work environment for your employees will pay off in the long run.

For more professional, ergonomics guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Kent, Renton, Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland. /

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Ergonomics Review of the Evoluent Vertical Mouse

Ergonomics Review of the Evoluent Vertical Mouse

Ergonomic Mouse Review

By Janet DeLapp, MS, CDMS, CPDM, CPE and Matt Copeland, BS, CEOE
SolutionsNW.com – Your Ergonomics Experts

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.The average American worker spends 7 hours a day on the computer.” – American Eye-Q 2015

There are many different versions of vertical mice. Over my years doing ergonomics assessments for office workstations, the best vertical mouse, in my professional opinion, is the Evoluent Vertical Mouse. We have not been compensated in any way for writing this review. The opinions expressed are our own.

Top 3 Reasons the Evoluent Vertical Mouse stands our as one of the best Vertical Mouse devices on the market:

  1. At Solutions Northwest Inc., we believe the overall feel of a piece of equipment is very important. The Evoluent has a very natural feel and puts the wrist in a very good neutral position.
  2. This mouse comes in left-handed and right-handed versions. Some products are made to do both but they don’t seem to fit the form of the hand as well as a dedicated left/right product.
  3. This vertical mouse comes in different sizes. Have you ever used something that’s too small or big for you? If you have, then you know how uncomfortable that can be. A mouse which is the wrong size for you can cause unnatural posturing of the hand and wrist which are risk factors. So if you must mouse, an Evoluent Vertical Mouse is an option we recommend.

In conclusion

Remember to always consult with your doctor to rule out any possible underlying cause of pain. And be sure to communicate with your staff, co-workers, or office managers/admins to see if they’d like to try any of these products.

Additionally, be sure to perform an ergonomics assessment to ensure office safety. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit your ergonomics experts at SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

3 Ergonomic Gadgets Every Office Should Try

3 Ergonomic Gadgets Every Office Should Try

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

The average American worker spends 7 hours a day on the computer.” – American Eye-Q 2015

If you’re like most American office workers, you likely spend a lot of time on the computer. In fact, “the average American worker spends 7 hours a day on the computer” says a 2015 American Eye-Q study.

Working on the computer for extended periods of time can take a toll on your body, especially if you aren’t proactive about researching what tools work best for your workstation.  

While it is always recommended to perform an ergonomics assessment of your workspace, this ergonomics blog will explore a few computer peripherals designed with computer ergonomics in mind.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Trackball Mouse

While no tools provide complete protection from carpal tunnel syndrome, the trackball requires much less movement and is considered by some to be a carpal tunnel relief gadget.

A trackball mouse, like a traditional mouse, is a pointing device. Unlike a traditional mouse, it remains stationary and has a ball on its top or side. In addition to the ball, a trackball commonly has one or more buttons that work like mouse buttons.

Operating the trackball with the three middle fingers reduces two ergonomics risk factors: static gripping and repetitive wrist movement.

Ergonomics experts recommend ambidextrous trackballs with a ball in the center rather than the side to minimize the risk of thumb tendonitis. Below are examples of a few ambidextrous trackballs:

Take a more in depth look at trackballs in our blog about switching to a trackball mouse.

Split Ergonomic Keyboards

There are many varieties of ergonomic keyboards such as split and contoured, but the split keyboard is a great way to reduce muscle strain and reduce the risk of carpal tunnel or other repetitive strain injuries.

Split keyboards that split into independent pieces are sometimes referred to as adjustable split keyboards. This type of split keyboard will allow you to move the keyboard into a comfortable position, allowing one to easily relax the wrist or entire hand.

When a split ergonomic keyboard is needed, we suggest taking a look at our article on the Kinesis Freestyle Pro.

Computer Glasses

You may have never heard of computer glasses, but with digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome being so common in today’s work place, products like computer glasses have started to gain interest among office workers.

Computer glasses look just like regular glasses and are usually around the $50 to $100 price range. Unlike regular glasses, computer glasses are designed with an anti-reflective coating to reduce screen glare and harsh light. Most of these glasses will also filter the blue light that your computer screen emits.

Filtering blue light should reduce negative symptoms of staring at a screen and make it easier to perform your daily computer work. Feeling headaches, eyestrain, blurred vision, dry eyes, or even neck and shoulder pain can be reduced. In fact, your posture may improve as well because you won’t have to hunch closer to the screen as much.

For an in depth look at computer glasses, check out our blog article on the subject.

In conclusion

Remember to always consult with your doctor to rule out any possible underlying cause of pain. Whether you decide to try computer glasses, split keyboards, or a trackball mouse, be sure to communicate with your staff or co-workers to see if they’d like to try any of these products.

Additionally, be sure to perform an ergonomics assessment to ensure office safety. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit your ergonomics experts at SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

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