HR Management & Compliance

Train Your Workers on These Ergonomic Best Practices

Professional ergonomist Kevin Butler recently penned an article on our sister site,®, regarding the latest up-to-date information on how employees can improve well-being in their workspaces. Click the “yesterday’s Advisor” link in the first paragraph for the first half of Butler’s advice.

Here are the last three ergonomic tips from Butler:

3. Sitting up straight may NOT be the best medicine. If you’ve invested in an ergonomic task chair, take some time to get to know all the bells and whistles so that you can be supported throughout the day. Remember to lean into the chair back, allowing you to offload some of that physical effort; it’s important to let the chair do its job and not to fall victim to the myth that a completely upright posture is the way to go. Sitting up too straight often leads to "perching" on the edge of the seat, providing zero back and torso support.

For the optimal approach, mix up static seating by using an active seat like Buoy for short, frequent sessions throughout the day. The curved base on Buoy tips slightly, allowing much needed micro-movements. Just remember not to stay there too long—too much of a good thing is not always the best choice ergonomically.

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4. Take a load off. No matter which position you choose while you work, remaining static for an extended period can be harmful. Try setting an alert on your calendar, use the Pomodoro-method, or download an app to remind yourself to get up and move at least once an hour. Refill your water, grab another cup of coffee, head to the restroom, or do a lap around your campus. If your workload is heavy, try scheduling a walking meeting. Even small adjustments will impact your overall well-being.

5. Add “belly laugh” to your to-do list. Sometimes we take things at the office too seriously. While the potentially damaging effects of stress are well documented, we don’t often remember that laughter is a great way to combat those effects. Did you know laughter helps strengthen the immune system, reduce food cravings, and cut the levels of stress hormones?

So grab a few coworkers for ping pong or pull up a funny YouTube video during your break. Laugh a little! It might just make a big difference!

For more information on products mentioned, go to the Steelcase and turnstone websites.

Kevin Butler is a board-certified professional ergonomist. A graduate of Arizona State University, he earned a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Ohio State University. As a Steelcase and turnstone workplace consultant, his primary focus is benchmarking and sharing ergonomics best practices with customers and designers. He also has extensive experience as an ergonomics practitioner assisting organizations in designing and implementing their ergonomics and wellness programs.

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