Where ergonomic standards fall short.

Why I think the average person is ‘doing it wrong’ even with great equipment and perfect posture…

…[because] the BEST posture, is the NEXT posture.”
– Peter Opsvik, ‘Father’ of ergonomic furniture design.

I’ve worked in a lot of places since entering the workplace at 14 yrs old. I’ve worked in tire shops, golf courses, rec centres, delivery trucks, ‘Atco’ trailers, kitchens, martial arts studios, gyms, residential youth treatment facilities, construction sites, offices, on the road, and basically at anything I could prop my laptop on.

In terms of ergonomics and the risk for repetitive strain one thing I’ve found to be true throughout all of the above workplaces is that even if you focus on using the best equipment with your best effort at perfect posture, you still can end up feeling stiff and sore by the end of long hauls of work.

If this goes on long enough you eventually might find yourself relying on ways to loosen up outside of working hours; i.e:

  • thinking exercise or yoga alone will fix it.
  • using your massage/physio/chiro benefits only to go back to doing things the same way.
  • wishing you could just sleep it off.
  • or just accepting that sore back or lingering side pain is “just part of my life now”. 

I’ve also taught physical fitness and martial arts, been a counsellor in mental health, developed health and safety programs and conducted ergonomic assessments for hundreds of people in various workspaces.

Across industry and regardless of fitness level, flexibility, or quality of equipment, I’ve seen how doing things in the same way, over and over – even if they are considered ‘proper’ – can become a repetitive strain in of itself, includingthe act of sitting ‘perfectly’ still.

And yes, there is a fundamental need for lowering your risk to strain injuries in the workplace, however the one thing that I think that is missing is using various postures while we work so that we can expand our range of motion, build balance, core strength, and a highly efficent routine designed for physical mobility.

So, instead of avoiding repetitive strain
I suggest that you practice repetitive relief.

Want to see what I am talking about?

Here are some examples to hopefully trigger an urge in you to sit, stand, and #movedifferently during work and life tasks. 

Working from home.
While sorting recycling.
Putting away the dishes.
Watching TV.

If you want some extra guidance for incorporating more on-the-go habits into your work culture, checkout my Team Wellness Trainings.

Work Hard, Rest Well

Tim Kessler
Workday Performance Coach, CEO
inHabit Workplace Wellness

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