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The Importance of Ergonomics in Workplace Health: A Physiotherapy Perspective


There’s been much talk about ergonomics in recent years, but what does the term ergonomics mean?

The field of ergonomics was developed primarily to improve employee or customer satisfaction which ultimately results in more and better business. It also helps employers avoid lawsuits, insurance claims, and many other consequences that could arise from employees or customers interacting with poorly designed products.

The perfect workstation is one that is designed to match the employee with the equipment necessary to complete the required tasks efficiently. While this sounds simple, there’s a problem: we tend to look at our surroundings to blame for problems that we are experiencing. For example, office workers with lower back pain will often blame the chair. The same is true for computer use and neck pain; we will blame the screen, the computer, the mouse, etc.

The Importance of Self-Awareness

There is often a large missing component for the optimal workstation. This component is poor education and lack of self-awareness while we are working. “I often tell my patients that they can have the most expensive and well-designed chair ever created, but if they’re still sitting on the edge of their seat with their head hanging in front of their body, remain dehydrated, have poor physical activity, and avoid stretching or walking, there is nothing that can help them,” said Dr. Rich.

He believes that employers must invest in educating and teaching self-awareness to their staff to maximize the benefit of ergonomic supplies.

“We cannot fall into this illusion that a chair will prevent the negative adaptations of prolonged sitting,” Dr. Rich added.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself

Are you experiencing workstation-related issues? If yes, we recommend doing a self-analysis and identifying what could be causing them. Dr. Rich recommends considering the following:

  • How long are you sitting before you stand?
  • Are you properly using the features of your workstation?
  • Do you tense up, shrug your shoulders or clench your teeth when stressed?
  • Are you getting more than 7 hours of sleep per night?
  • Are you staying hydrated and well-nourished?

The Benefits of Proper Ergonomics

Combining ergonomically correct workstations and self-awareness about proper posture, for example, can yield many benefits for employers and employees. A massive benefit for employers is employee satisfaction, better work efficiency, fewer absences, and happier staff. Employees will enjoy their work experience and avoid sick days or therapeutic expenses.

“But ergonomics is an important concept that should be applied to everything we do, not just work,” said Dr. Rich.

Contact Us

For more information about proper ergonomics or to book an appointment for physiotherapy, call us today.


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