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The True Cost of Sitting Down All Day at Work

The True Cost of Sitting Down All Day at Work

Ergonomics Tips: The True Cost of Sitting Down All Day at Work

“Sedentary time — even among physically active people — may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and more.”American Heart Association

Does your office have staff that needs to spend eight or more hours a day in a chair? Even those passionate about their jobs suffer from sitting all day. The key to avoiding back pain and other costly ailments is to get your staff up and moving.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Unconvinced about the importance of getting your employees out of their seats? Keep reading below for a guide on how sitting down all day is costing you and your employees money.

We sit a lot.

Research says on average; we sit for nine hours a day. Most of those parked behind a computer for work, but also leisure like tv watching or smart phone browsing.

While we may not realize this is a problem, it is. Our bodies are designed for activity.

Sitting down decreases our daily burn.

We don’t burn nearly as many calories when sitting as compared to exercise or even walking. Digestion is also not as efficient when we sit. Facts like these mean it is easy to put on weight. Pair this with office snacking, before you know it you could gain ten pounds.

In addition to slowing our metabolism and limiting our calorie burning, sitting all day impacts our muscles.

When we sit, we aren’t using our muscles as they are intended. This leaves our muscles weaker than normal, ultimately increasing our chances of injury from falls or strain when we are active.

Correlations between sitting and disease.

Consequences of sitting for extended periods go beyond just excess weight gain. Several diseases are more common in those who live sedentary lives.

Made worse by poor posture, too much sitting can wreak havoc on your back. Disc compression and sciatica are two of the most common ailments. Deep vein thrombosis can also become a concern.

For those of us working at a computer, stiff necks and shoulders are often a daily struggle.

One easy remedy for many of these issues is to invest in an ergonomics assessment to ensure all equipment is ideal for keeping your staff safe and injury free.

In conclusion.

It should now be clear: sitting down all day isn’t healthy. It’s unhealthy and can cost billions in negative consequences.

You don’t have to make drastic changes and start hitting the gym at 5 AM to counteract the effects of sitting either. Investing in proper equipment, such as ergonomic workstations and peripherals or instilling daily office walks is an easy way to get started. Not only will walks keep people active, but it will also be a great chance to socialize, which is great for workers as well.

If you are not an office administrator or manager, we suggest contacting your office’s human resource department to see about conducting an ergonomics assessment to determine how to best combat too much sitting in the workplace.

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: Seattle, WA, Tacoma, WA, Olympia, WA, Vancouver, WA, Kent, WA Renton, WA, Beaverton, OR, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, San Diego, CA, Carlsbad, CA, La Jolla, CA, Irvine, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Newport Beach, CA.

How to Avoid These Common Accidents at Work

How to Avoid These Common Accidents at Work

Post By: Solutions Northwest, Inc.
Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California

In 2014, more than 4,000 workers were killed while at work.

While most fatal accidents occur at physically demanding jobs such as construction or warehouse work, workplace accidents can happen in any field. That’s why you and your team should practice safety at your place of work.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

This is especially vital if you’re a small business owner. Worker’s compensation can set you back financially, especially if you don’t have insurance.

While it’s not possible to fully prevent an accident at work, there are ways to ensure you and your workers are safe. Know the most common accidents at work before they happen.

Avoid muscle strains.

Does your staff lift heavy objects regularly? This is a common role in jobs such as warehousing.

Moving heavy objects can cause muscle strain and even muscle injury if your employees aren’t careful enough. Common areas affected include the neck and the back.

While you can help reduce the risk of muscle strains by teaching proper lifting techniques, this may not be enough for staff who are too careless or for lifting supplies and equipment that are too heavy.

Slips, trips, and falls are avoidable.

Slips, trips, and falls are common at any workplace. Someone can spill their drink which can cause someone to slip on the floor. Tripping on something such as furniture is also common anywhere.

Falling from height is also common; this mainly happens with ladders, but can also happen if someone is running down the stairs.

Always clean your work spills, clear any clutter around the workspace, and post hazard signs where appropriate.

Take breaks to avoid repetitive strain injury.

Repetitive strain injury, or RSI, is becoming a widely recognized injury. This is an injury caused by repetitive motion. The most common examples include carpal tunnel or arthritis caused by typing on the keyboard.

The best way to prevent RSI is by taking constant breaks. Businesses can also invest in ergonomic equipment to take the strain off of joints and muscles. Consider an ergonomics assessment to determine what ergonomic equipment best suites your workstation’s needs.

Protect workers against cuts and lacerations.

This is another injury that can happen just about anywhere. From a paper cut to a nasty gash, anything sharp can split the skin and cause bleeding.

What can cause bleeding? If you’re in warehousing, knives and other sharp objects used to cut boxes can cause a cut. If you’re in carpentry, any of your sharp tools can cause a cut.

Even in the office, pens, paper, and paper trimmers can all cause cuts.

For industries such as carpentry, always wear protection and follow safety instructions when using sharp tools.

In conclusion, stay proactive.

Whether you are the office administrator, manager, or an hourly employee, we suggest remaining proactive about safety in the workplace.

While we can’t fully stop accidents at work, we can make changes to prevent them. At Solutions Northwest Inc., we offer ergonomics consulting and ergonomics assessments to help create a safer office space.

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.

5 Reasons Your Whole Office Will Benefit From Office Yoga

5 Reasons Your Whole Office Will Benefit From Office Yoga

Looking to make a meaningful change to your employee’s lives? An office yoga program offers improved focus, reduced stress, and enhanced productivity in the workplace.

If you run a business in 2019, chances are good your office has some type of wellness program. These programs set employers apart in the eyes of job seekers while nurturing a company’s current workforce.

Office yoga is a natural fit for a wellness program. Almost 15% of Americans do yoga already. Bringing the practice to work is a great way to focus on employees’ health and foster community in the workplace.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

These are not the only benefits an office can get from starting a corporate yoga program. There are many more. Read on as we highlight five of the most interesting benefits of doing yoga at work.

5 Benefits of Office Yoga:

1. Stress reduction improves work productivity.

Yoga has all sorts of stress-reducing effects.

It slows your breathing and makes it more deliberate. It stretches out your body, allowing for the release of endorphins. Anyone who has taken a yoga class can attest to the feeling of calm that immediately follows.

Lower stress makes better employees. Stressed employees make more mistakes in their work, miss more work due to illness, and account for greater employee turnover. Reduce your workplace’s stress, and you will foster an environment of positivity, focus, and collaboration.

2. Yoga improves posture.

Of all the physical benefits of workplace yoga, you might not think of posture first, but good posture at work is fundamental and even improves your success at work.

From a scientific perspective, humans should not sit as long as we do in our offices. Focusing on improved posture in our chairs helps us make the most of this less-than-ideal physical situation.

3. Do yoga. Digest better. Work easier.

That’s right, yoga helps you digest your food better.

Yoga detoxifies the body, which results in less heartburn and indigestion. These symptoms often mask deeper issues which can lead to time off work.

4. Your immune system benefits from yoga.

Yoga activates your immune and lymphatic systems, and its weight-bearing poses support strong bones. This means a more robust, less sickly workforce.

5. Yoga improves your confidence.

Yoga helps people get grounded in their bodies. It builds strength. And in doing these things, it gives people the confidence that comes from getting to know their bodies well.

When an office is full of confident, centered people, it shows in their work.

In conclusion.

These benefits of office yoga are only the beginning. A workplace yoga program has far-reaching effects, many of which are intangible.

Corporate yoga is a gentle, holistic practice that builds individual strength and fosters community. Yoga will not just give you healthier, happier workers, it will also show your employees that you care about them.

If you are not an office administrator or manager, we suggest contacting your office’s human resource department to see about adding office yoga to your workplace.

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.

3 Smart Ways to Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance

3 Smart Ways to Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance

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

Ergonomics Blog: 3 Smart Ways to Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance

“66 percent of full-time employees to say they don’t strongly believe they have a work-life balance.” SmallBizTrends

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

In today’s workplace, dependence on technology and social media make it difficult to separate work from personal life. In fact, a 2018 report by SmallBizTrends reveals that of 38 countries, America comes in at 30th place for workers with a positive work-life-balance. 

Americans work long hours each day, take work home, come in on weekends, and devote little time to leisure and personal care. Though it’s become the norm, this lifestyle makes for burnt out, unhappy, demotivated employees.

At Solutions Northwest Inc, we are all about a healthy and happy workplace. Read on for three smart ways you can promote work-life balance in your workplace. 

1. Explore company health initiatives.

Everyone knows how important exercise and being healthy is, but does your workplace promote health initiatives?

Work places should help encourage healthy lifestyles by promoting and offering health initiatives. Whether it’s discounted gym memberships, a healthcare spending account, in-office yoga once a week, or sponsored sports teams – discover if your office provides these initiatives or do your best to get these programs started if you’re an administrator or manager.

One simple health tip is to stop bringing boxes of donuts or candies to the break room. Instead, consider bringing yogurts, chopped fruits, chopped veggies, and other healthy foods to snack on. If you must bring sweets to the office, consider making it a 1-day a week event instead of an everyday thing.

2. Make the most of your breaks.

Make sure that you or your co-workers make the most of breaktime. Instead of scrolling through Facebook at your desk, take a brisk walk around the building. Walking on break or even walking during a meeting can work wonders for brainstorming.

Breaks don’t need to be complicated, find simple ways to take breaks from work. Looking away from the monitor for a few moments is good for eyestrain, a short stretch can help combat office injury, and taking your lunchbreak out in the sun can benefit your health.

Don’t feel guilty taking breaks, breaks will help you do a better job in the long run. If you’re a supervisor or managing employees, be sure to let them take their breaks, so you have a rested, focused, and productive staff.

3. Invest in office safety.

Safe workers are happy workers. As studies from the University of Warwick have shown, “happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.”

Employees will appreciate the effort that a company invests into ensuring that they have a healthy, safe, and productive workplace. Consider performing or requesting an ergonomic assessment to discover the best way make your workplace safer for your employees.

As a bonus, an ergonomic and safe work place will lead to a more productive workplace. “Businesses report an average increase of 25% in productivity and a 67% reduction in errors after an ergonomic assessment” according to WSDLI.

Additionally, the added safety pays for itself, so don’t be afraid to invest in better equipment and better workstations. According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry, “on average an ergonomics assessment will pay for itself in about 8.4 months.”

In conclusion

Put these ideas into practice today to promote a positive work-life balance. Remember, the best programs won’t do any good if your employees don’t know about them, so make sure to regularly communicate with your staff or co-workers about these options. If you’re an employee, speak to your human resources or management/admin about how to make your workplace a more balanced and healthier workplace. When assessing your office workstation, something as simple as an ergonomic mouse could help with balance as well.

To keep up with the newest trends in office safety,  we recommend contacting SolutionsNW.com, a leader in the ergonomics and work safety field, for more information.

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

5 Easy Ways to Increase Productivity in Your Work

5 Easy Ways to Increase Productivity in Your Work

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


The average worker loses more than an hour a day just from simple distractions” ResearchGate.net

Everyone is looking for the secret to more productivity at work, but the answer could lie in some simple, subtle changes to your work routine.

Here are five ways to be more efficient in the workplace:

1. Take regular breaks and eat a healthy diet.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Working longer hours doesn’t mean we will get more done. Taking regular breaks is important, it aids concentration and lifts the mood. 

Taking a five-minute walk or stepping away from the office for fifteen minutes will help you maintain a healthy perspective. You’ll return to your desk more energized and be able to focus more clearly.

Eating healthily boosts our brainpower and that impacts how productive we are in the office. We need the right fuel to ensure we perform at our peak.

2. Get plenty of exercise, even at work.

Exercise brings health benefits to our bodies and to our mental well-being. It can reduce stress and help us to concentrate better. It’s important to exercise regularly and make it part of your daily routine. 

Getting to the gym after work can be tough after a long hard day, but it is very beneficial. If the gym is a struggle, try fitting in something as simple as walking on your break or learn how to exercise at your desk. The ergonomics experts at Solutions Northwest Inc., have assembled 12 exercises you can do at your desk that strengthen your core, improve your posture while sitting, and provide enough strength to make it through a sedentary, office workday.

3. Group similar work tasks together.

Switching from one task to another wastes time and breaks your rhythm. It’s best to organize your work in groups of the same type. You can then set aside a block of time to finish each group all at once.

Arranging back to back meetings with colleagues in the afternoon is also a good idea. Once you’ve worked out your ‘to do’ list for the day, decide which tasks you could accomplish in two minutes or less and complete these straight away. 

4. Put your phone on silent.

Chatting or checking Facebook for personal reasons is one of the biggest workplace distractions. It can break your concentration and focus.  

Don’t be afraid to make yourself unavailable, most jobs don’t require instant response and that phone call or text is more than likely a distraction rather than work related.

It may help to choose a specific time of day that you are always available and let your associates know that this the best time to reach you, otherwise keep the phone silent while you work.

5. De-clutter your desk.

Having less stuff around can lower anxiety levels and in turn, increase work productivity. Having a desk or workstation that is well-organized helps us to think clearly.  Get a big trash bin that you can throw all old or unnecessary items in.

Getting rid of clutter will allow you to focus on the job and waste less time searching for important items or feeling trapped by distracting clutter.

In conclusion

Subtle changes can go a long way to increasing productivity in the office. Try doing just 1 thing from this list and notice how much it improves your productivity.

Share this information online or print it out and place it in the office to share with everyone. To keep up with the newest trends in office safety and the ergonomics industry subscribe to our blog.

These 5 workplace tips come courtesy of  Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants and work safety experts located in Washington State, Arcata,  California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

An Ergonomics Approach to Avoiding Office Workplace Illness and Injury

An Ergonomics Approach to Avoiding Office Workplace Illness and Injury

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

“33% of work related injuries are musculoskeletal disorders, like carpal tunnel and back strains” https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/

Workplace injuries cost a lot of time and money, but did you know that 33% of those injuries are musculoskeletal disorders, like carpal tunnel and back strains? While you can’t prevent every injury, you can lower the prevalence in your company.

Creating an ergonomic workplace can reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders while leaving your workers happier and more productive.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

What is Ergonomics?

In short, ergonomics is the process of creating an environment that increases productivity and reduces the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs affect muscles, nerves, tendons, and joints. They occur or are worsened due to repeated movements or stress on the body.

For example, employees who demonstrate bad posture all day may end up with muscle strains resulting in back or neck pain. Not only may they need to take time off work, but they may also be less productive at work because they’re in pain.

However, by designing an ergonomic workplace, you could help your employees reduce their risk for developing MSDs keeping them happy, healthy, and productive.

Now that you know what ergonomics is, let’s talk about how you can use it in your office.

Invest in Quality Office Equipment

If you’ve ever sat in an uncomfortable chair, you’ll know how it can quickly get uncomfortable and even painful. To avoid this in your company, invest in quality chairs for your employees.

These should have adjustable armrests, height, and lumbar support, so your employees can find the right setting for them. The backs of the chairs should also keep that natural “S” shape to fully support the spine, and the angle between the seat and backrest should allow you to comfortably sit up straight without pushing your forward.

When you bring new employees on, consider showing them how to adjust the different features of their chair and offer information on the importance of good posture at work. 

While investing in good chairs is a big step, it’s not the only thing that has to be done to create an ergonomic work environment. You can further prevent against back, neck, and wrist strains by offering additional ergonomic solutions for those who need it.

For example, your employees’ feet should always touch the ground when they sit. You can offer footrests to your shorter employees to help them improve their posture and stay comfortable at work.

Keyboard wrist rests are also a great idea. They take the weight off your wrists and offer support to prevent strains.

Invest in an Ergonomics Assessment

Don’t let your employees suffer MSDs on your watch. Ergonomics consultants have studied this topic robustly, it may be wise to invest in an ergonomics assessment for your workplace to see a difference in the productivity and health of your employees.

In the same way you must invest in proper equipment, you or your office manager should invest in a proper ergonomics assessment.

An ergonomics expert will see what you couldn’t see, as well as offer custom plans for your workplace. In the long run, this investment will pay off as you will see higher productivity and less injury in your workplace.

In conclusion

If you don’t invest in the safety of your workers, you will lose money in the long run. If you’re seeking out ergonomics solutions to your office work place, you’ve already taken the first step.

For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit 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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