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5 Ergonomic Mistakes You Should Never Make

29 January 2024

As awareness around the subject grows, it's likely that you were, at some point, told to make your workspace more ergonomic. Whether this was through the internet in explicit terms or through someone helping you adjust your workstation to one that works better, we've all been told to fix the space we work in, in some capacity.

While the advice to work towards ergonomics is good advice, you don't always know what to do and how to do it, and may end up making some dire mistakes in the process. Ergonomics isn't necessarily easy, while it can definitely seem straightforward.

Let's look at some ergonomic mistakes you should never make.

Ergonomic Mistakes To Avoid

#1 Ignoring Ergonomics

The biggest mistake you can make in terms of ergonomics is to ignore it completely. It may seem like a hassle to make changes in your routine and daily life structure, and may even be a hassle. In fact, so many of us are so used to our bad postural habits and the way we sit that we don't even realize the need for ergonomics when it exists.

Often, office spaces are still relatively better off in this regard, because ergonomics are usually enforced in some form. Whether this is because the equipment used in offices is ergonomic, or because of available training on the importance of ergonomics, it is a lot easier to make sure that the correct practices are followed.

For remote workers this is a bigger problem, since most of them don't actually follow ergonomics. Plenty of people who work from home will be doing so from their beds, while even the ones who go to secondary spots don't actually manage their ergonomics well.

Without the right setup, you are putting yourself at risk of back injuries, arm injuries, compressed nerves, tissue injuries and general bodily aches and pains that could easily become chronic. That's why ignoring ergonomics is an absolute no-no in terms of work.

#2 Not Paying Attention To Warning Signs

Any problem becomes a bigger problem if you don't address it in time. Your body's health is the same way. Unless you figure out the problem in time and take steps to eliminate it, it'll only end up getting worse.

There are plenty of clear signs that you are not following appropriate ergonomic practices. For one thing, you'll notice pains and aches around the body , such as back pain and weakness in the wrists. You may also face leg pain. These are often dismissed as common problems that every desk worker faces, but they are not to be taken lightly.

After all, just because something is common doesn't mean it's normal to have.

If you notice numbness or pain anywhere in the body, it's a sign that something is wrong and you should be looking into it. In fact, these things are often a precursor to more serious, long-term problems. If you feel pain in one part of the body, it can easily spread to others through a chain reaction of sorts. For example, pain in the sciatic nerve can spread down the legs and feet and make it difficult to sit and stand and sometimes even walk.

If your body hurts in any way, that's its way of telling you that something is wrong. When this happens, it's never a good idea to ignore it. If the pain or numbness persists, you should see a doctor immediately.

To avoid all the pain and numbness though, you'd need to take steps, like fixing your workstation and incorporating good ergonomic practices that ensure your body's safety.

#3 Relying Only on Ergonomics

While ergonomics is clearly important, it's not a complete solution to the problem. Even if your workspace setup is fully optimized to make sure your body is in the perfect position for work and makes sure you don't end up with aches and pains, the amount of time you spend sitting still has enough negative effects to wreak havoc.

In fact, sedentary lifestyles can be so dangerous that even with the most optimized of workspaces, you are still at risk of developing heart disease, poor circulation, slower metabolism, weight gain and obesity, and even reduced life expectancy.

It's important to make sure that you're not just sitting properly, but that you're also sitting less. Even taking short, ten-minute breaks every hour can do a lot to minimize the effects of sitting for long stretches of time. These breaks have to be real breaks - as in, you have to get up and walk around to bring the life back into your legs, and turn your eyes away from any sort of screen to give them a bit of rest.

You should also be doing stretches to help bring circulation back to normal and keep your muscles from getting tense. Taking breaks doesn't seem like a big deal, but it can do a lot to protect you against the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Besides, it's a good thing there's such an easy way out!

#4 Using The Wrong Furniture

Your workspace furniture is pretty much the foundation of your workstation. If your furniture isn't comfortable or ideal, you'd find yourself in a pretty bad place. Not only will it affect your bodily health and cause you problems, you'll likely also end up in a bad mood as a result which will just make you unproductive.

Most office furniture gets purchased based on the price and appearance, which are important factors. People want their workspace to look cool and be fun to sit in, while also cost them the minimum possible amount. This mindset is understandable, but it is not sustainable nor appropriate when it comes to health and ergonomics.

Chairs that focus too much on appearance or that are priced too low will often come with the downside of not being adjustable. This means that you won't be able to adjust height or depth to suit your body's needs, which can cause you problems in the future.

The FlexiSpot Sit2Go Fitness Chair is an excellent example of a chair meant for ergonomics, while also taking into account the downsides of a sedentary lifestyle, by incorporating a bike.

This chair comes with unlimited pneumatic height adjustment which lets you move the seat up and down with just the squeeze of a handle. This allows you to go from sitting to riding almost instantly. The seat also has front and rear adjustable cushions that let you adjust your riding posture. Because the adjustment range is so wide, you can find the perfect position for your body and stature.

The bike comes with 8 resistance levels which let you move from light activity to heavy workout depending on what you need. All you have to do is adjust the settings. The bike itself is also very quiet, so you can pedal quietly and smoothly without worrying about causing a disturbance for others around you.

The seat backrest is made of breathable mesh, which lets you sit comfortably and also provides stability. If you're looking for a good ergonomic seat for your desk, this may be the one you're looking for.

#5 Not Having a Sustainable Approach

The key to getting benefits from anything at all is to be sustainable and persistent about it. Just like working out every once in a while won't give you any positive results (in fact, you may just pull a muscle instead), following ergonomic practices once in a while won't help you keep your body in good shape or health either.

Your approach to ergonomics has to be consistent for it to work, otherwise you'll just end up with the same problems you were trying to avoid.

Good ergonomics is also not a checklist of things to follow. Of course, there are some basic recommendations, such as appropriate height, lighting, etc. but for the most part, good ergonomics will differ from person to person depending on their body stature and type.

You have to find what works best for you depending on your body, and make sure to incorporate that as best as you can into your life. You should also be trying to make consistent improvements no matter what. Even if you have the best furniture, and keep an eye on your body all the time to notice any warning signs, you can easily run into the problem of ergonomic trouble if you are not looking for ways to improve your current workspace and make it more friendly to your body.

By focusing on these aspects, you'd be able to develop an ergonomic approach that is unique to you and works best for your specific circumstances. This also means that this approach will help you in ways it may not be able to help others due to the differences.

Ergonomics is a lot more about personal preference than we think it is, but at the end of the day, following good ergonomics is important for everyone.