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Why Your Office Should Have Standing Meetings

Why Your Office Should Have Standing Meetings

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

Why Your Office Should Have Standing Meetings

A recent article by Forbes claimed standing meetings cut meeting times by 25%.

When you sit for long periods of time, you become susceptible to a variety of health concerns. Health concerns from too much sitting include: High blood pressure (hypertension), increased blood sugar levels, excess body fat (particularly around the stomach), high cholesterol, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Because sitting too much has a negative impact on office health, it makes sense to look for opportunities to take a break from sitting to stand up. Instead of pulling up a chair, conduct your next meeting standing up. A standing meeting boosts creative results, improves focus, and encourages team cohesion.

4 Benefits of a Standing Meeting:

Standing meetings are healthy for your employees and your business. A recent article by Forbes claimed standing meetings cut meeting times by 25%.

1. Standing leads to creativity.

Standing up gets the creative juices flowing. Researchers from Washington University found groups who worked together while standing were more energetic and shared more creative ideas.

Sitting down too long may actually harm creativity because it makes people feel sluggish, tired, and unengaged.

If you need to spark creativity in your office, conduct a brainstorming session while standing up. It should encourage more involvement and creative thinking.

2. Standing improves focus.

Standing allows for better focus within your group.

Firstly, standing means it is less likely employees will be distracted by cell phones and emails. When everyone is standing up in a circle, it’s easier to focus on the conversation at hand.

When you stand, your circulation flows throughout your entire body and more blood reaches your brain. The change in posture wakes people up and helps them feel more alert during a meeting.

3. Sitting and standing balances your workday.

Alternating between sitting and standing provides for a healthier workday. Standing burns more calories than sitting, so you’re less likely to experience weight gain that often accompanies a sedentary lifestyle. 

Research shows workers who stood for at least two hours a day increased their lifespan expectancy by 10%. Standing meetings encourage more activity, give workers a chance to stretch their legs, and help everyone feel refreshed.

Of course, moving throughout the day is the best way to stay healthy. In addition to hosting standing meetings, you should also be eating well and exercising regularly after or before work.

4. Standing meetings boost team cohesion.

Standing meetings get everyone involved to pitch new ideas. Since the creative juices are flowing and your team is focused on the conversation, it leads to improved team cohesion.

During a sit-down meeting, people may feel more territorial. They bring their cellphones, laptops, and notebooks with them to the table and sit in their designated area. A standing meeting eliminates this and encourages a shared workspace where ideas and cohesion flow.

Standing meetings should boost team spirits. They can include fun ice-breakers and are the perfect time to make announcements noting employee achievements. After a standing meeting, your team resumes their work feeling motivated and energetic.

In conclusion, start standing.

With all the benefits of a standing meeting, start incorporating them into your weekly agenda. You’ll find your employees will be more creative, focused, and healthier. Talk about a win-win!

Share this blog post with the rest of the office to get the buzz started about making your next meeting a standing meeting.

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.

How Posture Impacts Your Work and How to Improve it

How Posture Impacts Your Work and How to Improve it

“Just sitting up straight, a simple power pose, may increase self-confidence.” European Journal of Social Psychology

Working at an office computer can lead to bad posture, which can cause issues like back pain, neck pain, and even present a loss of productivity at work.

There are many benefits to having good posture, besides just looking good. This blog will describe the benefits of good posture and how to achieve it.

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3 Benefits of Better Posture:

The American Chiropractic Association says that 31 million Americans experience low back pain at a time. In fact, it’s also the leading cause of disability and one of the top reasons for missed work.

In addition to alleviating our neck and back pain, improving our posture also benefits our:

  1. Confidence
    When in the power pose—head up, shoulders back, chest forward—our bodies also release chemical hormones. The increase in testosterone boosts our confidence, while the decrease in cortisol lowers our stress levels. 

    On the other hand, bad posture gives our stress, depression, and fear levels a boost, so we’re better off without it
  2. Energy
    Sitting up, standing, or walking straight also increases our energy. This can, in turn, lead to more confidence, productivity, and better communication. 

    A little exercise break can wake us up and raise our energy levels too.
  3. Health
    Bad posture can impact our overall health and happiness. When we slouch, we squish our organs together. Sitting straight allows them to function at optimal levels. 

    It can also cause: headaches, digestive issues, difficulty sleeping, low confidence, and fatigue.

3 Ways to Correct Your Posture:

  1. Strengthen your body.
    You may need to strengthen your body before you can maintain good posture. Enroll in an exercise program like yoga or learn some simple exercises, like the chin tuck. To do the chin tuck, “move your chin towards your chest, holding for 5 seconds as you feel a comfortable stretch from your neck to the base of your skull. Repeat 10 times” according to Spine Universe.

    We’d also recommend watching a great exercise video, “Exercise at Your Desk” from the ergonomics consultants at Solutions Northwest Inc
  2. Learn to sit or stand properly.
    CYH defines good posture as “always holding yourself in a way that puts the least strain on your back, whatever you are doing.” For example, instead of sitting at a stiff 90-degree angle, try 110-degrees. This will help relax your shoulders and improve spine comfort.

    If you have trouble discovering what your best posture is, there are also apps and devices that will warn you if your posture is inadequate.
  3. Take a break.
    Sitting at a desk all day isn’t healthy, so be sure to take breaks. Try microbreaks every 20 minutes or turn away from your screen and stretch before those aches and pains can set in.  Read our article: “Taking Breaks Makes You More Productive at Work” for more ideas on how and why to take breaks at work.

In conclusion

With these tips, you can put an end to your bad posture and improve your overall health and 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.

Ergo-Safety: 4 Ergonomic Items to Bring Peace of Mind to the Office

Ergo-Safety: 4 Ergonomic Items to Bring Peace of Mind to the Office

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

4 Ergonomic Items to Bring Peace of Mind to the Office

Sedentary lifestyle can explain, in part, how modernity is associated with obesity, more than 30 chronic diseases and conditions and high healthcare costs.” NCBI

Sitting and staring at a computer screen all day can be detrimental to your health and well-being, but what if your job requires it? Savvy office managers are beginning to implement ergonomic solutions to help employees not only be healthier, but also more productive.

Read on to discover 4 ergonomic office items that will keep your body healthy and your work day more productive.

1. Ergonomic Office Chair

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Long office hours hunched over the computer can lead to bad posture, back pain, and neck stiffness. Invest in an ergonomic chair specifically created with the human anatomy in mind.

Most ergo chairs come with a breathable mesh to allow your body to cool and you can adjust the armrest, headrest, seat tilt, and height.

2. Adjustable Monitor Stand

The adjustable monitor stand is a smaller and cheaper alternative to a standing desk. You don’t have to lift the entire desk – instead, you adjust the height of the computer monitor and sit or stand accordingly.

Monitor stands are great for laptops as well, because it’s harder to adjust laptop screens to your eye level without props.

3. Ergonomic Mouse and Mousepad

Your wrists are under a lot of pressure during the day as you handle the mouse and keyboard. After a while, you may start developing a carpal tunnel syndrome that will make your desk work even more painful.

An ergo mouse and a mousepad should be crucial parts of your ergonomic office, especially if you spend more than four hours a day in front of a screen. Consider a vertical mouse or split keyboard.

4. Ergonomic Footrest

Spending hours at your desk with your legs hanging down can lead to poor blood circulation, varicose veins, and weakened leg muscles.

An ergonomic footrest is a simple, affordable solution to this problem that will keep your legs elevated to prevent swelling and knee pain. Plus, it will make your desk work more comfortable.

In conclusion

Working at a desk for eight hours a day can take a toll on your health, especially your back, neck, and knees. More companies have been investing in their workers by replacing their outdated office furniture with ergonomic office equipment and performing ergonomic assessments as needed.

To keep up with the newest trends in the ergonomics industry and discover new ergo office products,  we recommend contacting SolutionsNW.com, a leader in the ergonomics field, 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. 

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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

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.

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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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