Important Ergonomic factors to set students up for success at their desk!
Ergonomics is a strange word. So what does it mean and is it important?
Ergonomics refers to the science of how we choose, arrange and use our learning and/or work environment, including our furniture and accessories, so we’re most efficient and most safe while we learn or work.
When we’ve given careful consideration to our ergonomics we are most productive and have least stress and strain on our mind and body.
Doesn’t that sound worthwhile?
Some benefits of an ergonomically healthy learning/ study setup are
- Feeling more energised and alert
- Having better posture
- Feeling less muscle tightness and tension
- Being more productive
- Feeling less stiffness and soreness
There’s a few important points to consider when it comes to having an ‘Ergonomically friendly’ setup…
I went into detail regarding the ‘Ergonomic Guidelines’ for setting students up for home-learning and home-study in my recent online ‘Student Ergonomics’ workshop…
You can view the replay HERE
In this online workshop we dove into many of the specifics to consider when setting up students’ desks for success, so make sure you check it out!
IN ADDITION, I wanted to share with you some aspects of ‘Good Ergonomics’ that are not often talked about, but are really important points to consider…
- ‘Ergonomics’ is not a static state.
We don’t setup our desk & chair up once and that’s it for good…
Ergonomics box ticked!
As humans we are constantly changing up what we’re doing as we learn, study and work and so should our setup!
For example, we might want to spend time learning in the sunshine so might setup outdoors for a short while.
Or we might be in the library or café for a while, so need to consider how we set ourselves up if we’re in that situation for any length of time.
We are supposed to MOVE our bodies, not sit in a chair in one position for any longer than 20-30 mins. (Refer to Prof Alan Hedges publications on the ideal cycle of work for details).
We are at our most efficient mentally and physically when we encourage ourselves and others to move within our environment.
TIP: Your Ergonomic setup should allow and encourage regular movement!
- ‘Good Ergonomics’ are guidelines to base your decisions around, but not hard and fast rules.
As Ergonomists, we’re constantly balancing between what we have at hand, what would be MOST beneficial for our bodies and the confines of our work environment and our budget!
When budgets are limited, it can be good to trial things like using a shoe box as a temporary footrest or reams of paper to raise our screen, before purchasing a permanent one.
TIP: It’s often useful to check with your friendly ergonomist or health professional (like myself) regarding what might best suit your body and situation
For Example, ask before deciding on more costly items, like office chairs and sit-stand desks
We have lots of experience in this area and are often more familiar with the pro’s and con’s of certain equipment that would benefit you.
- ‘Ergonomic’ changes can take getting used to
The great thing about having someone else assess your desk setup in an ‘Ergonomic Assessment’ is that sometimes we don’t see things that might cause problems as we’re so used to them!
When I do Ergonomic Assessments for people in offices and schools, they often don’t have any idea that they’re sitting or looking one way more than the other, or leaning off to one side more than the other… and doing so many other things that put strain on their body!
Making changes to these setups can be a little confronting, as it means changing the way you see and do things out of habit.
This can be quite confronting and take some getting used to!
TIP: Making small adjustments towards an outcome is often helpful.
For example, you might be recommended to bring your monitor closer towards arms distance away (so you’re not leaning forwards towards your screen as much), yet bringing it that close makes you feel claustrophobic.
Moving your monitor closer a couple of centimeters per week until it’s where it ‘should’ be, helps your brain and body get used to the idea.
It also gives you time to form a new habit of leaning back on your backrest.
So make sure you take a little time this week with your students, to check out the STUDENT ERGONOMICS WORKSHOP REPLAY…
Then see if there’s some changes you might make to help them feel and function their best at their desk.
EXTRA GOOD NEWS!
Healthy ergonomics is only ONE of the important factors when it comes to feeling and functioning our best at our desk.
Other important habits to reduce strain and feel fabulous while we learn and study are healthy postures and healthy movement; in particular targeted stretches and exercises that improve energy levels, flexibility, and our strength and endurance for sitting.
In a couple of weeks (September 2020) I’ll be launching my first
ONLINE STUDENT ‘BE FIT 4 STUDY’ program
… which inspires students to develop healthy exercise, posture and ergonomic habits while they learn and study.
I’ve been delivering similar workshops in classrooms the past few years and have been astounded at how eager students are to understand and onboard healthy posture, ergonomic and exercise habits, once they
- KNOW WHY they should make certain healthy choices and
- FEEL THE DIFFERENCE!
I’m putting together the best of these lessons into short videos. I want to inspire students across the globe to ‘Be Fit 2 Sit’ with fun and engaging activities!