The definition of ergonomics is the study of the workplace and the environment that surrounds it, and what equipment can be used for the safety, comfort, and productivity of the people that use it. The Alexander Technique is slightly different in that it studies the human body and how that can be used safely, comfortably and effectively. It is often human nature to blame our surroundings for our productivity, the chair is uncomfortable, or the light is too dim. However, spending a great deal of money on good ergonomics does not quite solve the inherent problem.
The Missing Piece
Many people take time of work being sick, they claim they have aches and pains that they have accumulated whilst at work. The cost to the world’s productivity of these millions of sick days is immense, and everybody immediately blames their working environment. However, often the missing piece is not good ergonomics but how we use our bodies. The best ergonomically designed work space will still be of little use unless we use it properly. In a way we have to learn how to use our bodies properly when we are at work.
Using Our Own Bodies
This all means quite straightforward behavior, such as sitting in a chair properly, with back upright and not slouching forward. Making sure that you are far enough away from a computer screen so your eyes are not damaged. In other words, we have to use our bodies in conjunction with the ergonomically designed work space to get the most out of it.
Drop Old Habits
All this posture and motion that we use every day at work needs to be re-evaluated. Over the years you pick up bad habits that you are totally unaware that you are doing. Some of these habits can be extremely harmful and damaging to your body.
What is needed is to pause and think what you are doing, ask yourself does this look and feel right? How can you do the action any better? Do parts of your body ache at the end of the day?
If they do, what can you do to stop the pain? This may all sound pure logic and common sense, the good part is, that it totally is. Working together with your environment can help immensely in your well-being.
The physical side of things is fairly easy to identify, you can easily see how you are sitting in a car seat for example. But what is harder to recognize are the more mental side of things, and stress is one of the biggest factors of illness in the workplace. Why do you hate walking in the office? Is it too dark? Does it smell? Is it too hot or cold? These are all factors that can alter your mood and even bring stress. Again, you need to identify them and reduce their effect. If the office smells, open more windows let some fresh air inside.
Basically human ergonomics is all about being aware, being aware of your own actions and what is all around you. If you practice these simple observations, then you will find that your ergonomically designed work space is a great place to work.