Ergonomics Made Easy Blog

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3 Ergonomic Tips

Wednesday August 27, 2014

Ergonomic Hacks for Bankers

Banks are every day necessities.  We need them, and they need us.  But not all banks are equal.    Some serve their employees and customers better than others.  Here are three things that will help any bank have happier, healthier, and more protected transactions.

  1. Monitor shields.  Monitor shields keep the sun from rendering the screen useless.  This is great for counter-acting windows and glaring overhead lights.  Additionally, monitor shields protect the user from nosy neighbors.  Whether people mean to or not, we simply can't help ourselves from straining to see other people's business.  A shield allows the user (the person sitting right in front of the screen) to see what's there, but not from other angles.  Thus, the user and his/her information is protected.  Plus, when necessary, the screen is easily and quickly removable.  
  2. Monitor lifts.  Not as .007 essential, these devices lift the monitor for better viewing for short, average, and tall employees.  Screens are sort of a one-size-fits-all purchase, but lifts allow for adjustment for fewer neck aches and pains.  What's more, keeping the screen raised keeps your eyes healthier.  Eye strain is a common problem for computer workers, and it only worsens when looking down at a screen for too long.
  3. Sound masking.  An individual sound machine allows a single banker to ignore business around him and focus on the task or conversation at hand.  A sound masking system is farther-reaching and achieves speech privacy for all involved.  Both employees and customers are protected from being overheard.  Be it for the bank itself, or the customer, speech privacy cannot be over-rated.  That's why every aspect of leaks needs to be considered- not just the digital ones.


Taking care of employees and customers is important.  Everyone needs to walk away happy their experience.

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4 Tips for a Better Ergonomic Work Station

Sunday July 27, 2014

More and more people are struggling with work-related stress, strain, or even injury.  This may be due to computer-related jobs in which workers need to sit most of the day, staring at a screen, and repetitively typing all day.  What you may not know is that even a desk job can be improved with a few minor, and some more major, changes to your work habits and station.

Ergonomic Work Station Set-Up Principles

  • You may think neck aches and pains are part and parcel to a desk job, but thankfully, that’s not the case!  A monitor set too low, such as just on your desk top, causes you to strain your neck and your eyes to see it.  A monitor lift literally raises your screen to eye level and about 20 inches from your torso, which keeps you in good ergonomic health.

  • Sore backs are a common complaint.  Two options here: an adjustable ergonomic chair which allows you maximum adjustment and comfort.  The second option is to check your current chair to see if it’s adjustable and actually adjust it  {the height, back support, and arm rests}!   The end goal is three-fold: your feet should rest flat on the floor, your back should be well-supported , and your arms should be able to slope slightly downward to reach your keyboard without cocking your wrists.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common office injury and be easily avoided by practicing good wrist positioning.  A wrist rest is poorly named as its actual intent is to rest the palms of your hands in between periods of typing, with the result of protecting your wrists from awkward angles.

  • Ergonomic keyboards are known to offer better hand positioning and comfort and are also especially helpful as an add-on to your docked lap top.  They are much more comfortable for long periods of typing and can be moved closer to the body while your screen is elevated.

As you can see, just making some simple changes to your own movements can help decrease strain.  As for the ergonomic products, prioritize the one or two products that apply to your own weak points.  Keeping your muscles, joints, mind, and overall body in good health is worth a little change!

 

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Tips for Boosting Productivity: Part 1

Thursday January 26, 2012

Tips for Productivity

I love being productive and getting things done, whether at home or for work.  I thrive on being efficient and staying on top of things before they get out of control.  However, as much as I naturally love efficiency and productivity, I still have those days {or weeks} in which I just can't find my groove...or stay in it longer than half an hour.  I felt this way as a teacher and I feel it now as a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom of three.  I am often conflicted with how to divide my time between work and parenting, which is why being as efficient as possible is crucial for staying sane and keeping all the balls in the air.

Thus, I have come up with 3 steps for boosting productivity that I think are somewhat obvious, but still quite helpful.

Step 1: Getting rid of distractions

Distractions are a real time suck, as their name implies.  Whether it's noisy co-workers, neighbors, or even your own children {like my daughter asking me right now if I'm choosing to ignore her?}, these distractions interrupt our train of thought and therefore stifle creative thought as we struggle to wrangle our minds back into gear.

So, for those of you who work from home, I can’t emphasize how important it is to set up good boundaries for actually getting work done at home so you still have a place to work and place to relax at home.   For work, it's important to have a good home officewhite noise, and general organization.

Once you've protected yourself as much as possible from distraction, you have to discipline yourself to use your time well.  What do you do if you are fresh out of ideas?  Or if you have a great one but can't develop it due to other commitments?  This is where step 2 comes in to play.

Step 2: Getting rid of writer’s (worker’s) block


So, here are few tips for breaking the barrier when you’re staring at a blank screen:
  • Sit and think for 10 minutes.  Seriously, before you give yourself (another) break, try to come up with a starting point.  It’s not that I don’t value breaks- in fact I have a lot due to the nature of my work day and kids.  However, I think it’s easy to procrastinate by allowing yourself too many.
  • Make a list of things that need to get done and start doing them- it may be that you have a break-through as you make the list or start checking things off.  Sometimes, the feeling of accomplishment is enough to get your mind going.
  • If you’re writing, do a google search and see what others have written.  Sometimes this is good fodder for a new idea or a response to someone else’s.  I find that I write best {i.e. not plagiarize} if I read an article and then close it, whether I agree with it or not.
  • Since I do work from home and also have small children still at home, I don’t work 9-5.  So, I have a couple hours a couple times a day.  I push it hard while I have the peace and quiet to do it, then when I’m on with the kids, I keep a pad and paper by me so I can jot down any ideas that come to mind.  That way, I’m not working while the kids are around and I also don’t lose an idea.
  • Take breaks.  See, I do value breaks.  I just think they need to be earned.
  • Frequently, I work on an idea in the back of my head…maybe it’s a real life experience, maybe it’s not, but either way, I find that my best ideas come when I am not technically working.  I usually mull them over in the back of my mind as I wash dishes {we live in the UK- no dishwasher, so there’s lots of that} or pick up toys or even play with the kids.  Then, I either work on it the next chance I get, or I at least write it down so I don’t forget.
If you're struggling to be productive, rework your work space for minimal distractions, then discipline yourself to actually work.  Be sure to check back next time for Part 2!

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Free Tips, Tools, & Resources for Boosting Your Productivity

Tuesday January 17, 2012

Productivity Boosters

Getting it all done, and on time, has become increasingly more complicated and therefore challenging.  With the advent of great new technology {I shiver when I think of the pine system of email I logged into for college just 12 years ago} comes a new era of distractions.  Besides the typical office noise we all face, we're distracted by our own gadgetry as well. While I love being productive and crossing tasks off my to-do list, I can always tell when I'm in a mood for distraction by how frequently I refresh my email, Pinterest, blog stats, or Facebook.  I don't think I'm the only one either.  Guarding ourselves from ourselves can be just as difficult as protecting our time from office time sucks, such as seemingly pointless meetings and co-worker chatter.

Thus, in case you are not totally tech-savvy like me {meaning I'm not at all}, here are some productivity boosters you may not be aware of.  I have broken them into several categories: free Firefox add-ons, a free white noise online generator, and some ergonomic products known for efficiency.

First, check out these great Firefox add-ons.

  • LeechBlock: a Firefox add-on that allows you to block sites so you can avoid their distraction.
  • Customize Google: CustomizeGoogle is a Firefox extension that enhance Google search results by adding extra information (like links to Yahoo, Ask.com, MSN etc) and removing unwanted information (like ads and spam). All features are optional and easily configured.
  • FlashGot: Download all the links, movies and audio clips of a page at the maximum speed with a single click, using the most popular, lightweight and reliable external download managers.
  • StatusBar: View and manage downloads from a tidy statusbar - without the download window getting in the way of your web browsing.
  • Flashblock: Flashblock is an extension for the Mozilla, Firefox, and Netscape browsers that takes a pessimistic approach to dealing with Macromedia Flash content on a webpage and blocks ALL Flash content from loading. It then leaves placeholders on the webpage that allow you to click to download and then view the Flash content.
  • URL fixer: URL Fixer is an extension for Mozilla Firefox that corrects typos in URLs that you enter in the address bar. For example, if you type google.con, it will correct it to google.com (asking first, if you enable confirmation).
  • Tab Mix Plus: Tab Mix Plus enhances Firefox's tab browsing capabilities. It includes such features as duplicating tabs, controlling tab focus, tab clicking options, undo closed tabs and windows, plus much more. It also includes a full-featured session manager.
  • ScrapBook: Helps you to save Web pages and organize the collection.

And, a final productivity booster for any browser:

Now, take a look at these ergonomic products that maximize on comfort and minimize movement, thus making any workspace more efficient.
  • Ergonomic Mini Keyboard: a smaller, more compact design helps minimize movements for faster typing
  • Ergonomic Mouse:  a handshake grip like this Evoluent mouse offers is much more comfortable and prevents straining; pair it with a slim-lined ergo keyboard that lets you pull it in close, and you have an efficient little typing space!

Finally, be sure to take a look at these productivity tips for mousing and a mini keyboard.

Check out these free productivity add-ons, a free white noise generator, and efficient ergonomic equipment to get a little boost at work.

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using Light Therapy & Heated Ergo Products for SAD

Tuesday January 10, 2012

Dreading January & February?

The post-holiday season can be quite depressing for many people for a variety of reasons.  Some are just sad Christmas is over and time with family is shortened again.  Others just crash after running on adrenaline for so long.  Still others struggle with the colder climate and literally shorter days with so much less sun light.  Being cold and not seeing the sun very much isn't exactly an exhilarating way to spend the winter, regardless of how seasons naturally work.

In fact, many people struggle so much with the weather and decreased sunlight they are diagnosed with a seasonal form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known quite appropriately as SAD).  While there is medication you can get from your doctor, you might be interested in knowing there are some more "natural" ways to brighten your mood and deal with the effects of SAD.  

Warm Up & Brighten Up!

Usually it's the cold and the added dark hours that get people down in winter, even clinically speaking, so dealing with those two factors is essential in dealing with your own mood and boosting your productivity.  Here are some office remedies you can try.

  • Warm up! Winter is cold.  Plain and simple.  If you don't have access to a thermostat or find that you are still cold, there are some great ergonomic products made just for you!  You won't need them all, but just using a heated keyboard, heated mouse, or heated foot pad will keep your fingers and feet (the outer extremities of your body) toasty warm and much more likely to keep working well.  Plus, you won't dread coming to work or feel the need to dress in 17 layers.
  • Brighten up! Whether you don't like the dark, or, like millions of others, you actually suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), adding light through the use of light therapy is sure to brighten your work space and your mood!  An improved mood usually aides in productivity.  Plus, it's portable, so you can take it home with you for the long evenings and late-to-arrive mornings, too.  Many people enjoy them in their kitchens.

Don't dread these early months- make the most of them by staying warm and feeling less depressed even if you suffer from SAD.

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