Ergonomically Sound - What are ergonomics?

Most people have heard of ergonomics and think it is something to do with seating, or with the design of car controls and instruments. It is, but it is much more and has a major role to play in the design of the modern office whether this be in a private organisation or within a government department.
Ergonomics is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use. Ergonomics comes into everything that involves people. Work systems, sports and leisure, and health and safety should all embody ergonomic principles if well designed. Therefore, to be a safe, efficient and enjoyable place in which to work, the office must embody good ergonomic principals. Corpteluk and Jabra have been working together to highlight some of the specific elements of these principles, in direct relation to the use of telephony in the workplace.
Headsets improve productivity and the health of your work force
In today's workplace telephones are indispensable, since telecommunication is a crucial and growing part of office work. However, using a traditional telephone handset often involves strenuous movement unnatural posture such as cradling the handset between neck and shoulder, and having to stretch to reach for things. Research and office work placement ergonomics clearly indicates that the use of a classic telephone handset by office workers is a major source of work-related back pain. The US National Institute for occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) as those injuries created and/or worsened by the work environment. WMSDs can be severe and painful ranging from tingle into numbness to sharp pains and resulting in time off work, reduced productivity and temporary or permanent disabilit,y impacting every area of a business’s ability to work efficiently regardless of genre.
New user studies identified headsets as "pattern-breakers"
The adaptation of specific motion patterns related to the way we have trained our body’s to compensate for the physical limitations of the telephone handset has resulted in adopting uncomfortable and harmful postures. These in the short-term inflict pain, typically in the head (headaches), neck, back and shoulders and in the long term could potentially cause permanent damage to the tendons, tissue, muscles, nerves and supporting skeletal structures. Such negative patterns are not easily broken without some kind of physical intervention, where replacing the telephone handset with a headset provides the most obvious, effective and well documented improvement that can be obtained.

Ergonomics benefits achieved by using a headset
Why does replacing a telephone handset with a headset have such a big effect on musculoskeletal conditions?

Seemingly, strain patterns are broken by introducing this alternative to the telephone handset as a personal communication too. The headset can transform static positions and strenuous movement into natural dynamic movements conductive to the musculoskeletal system, allowing the user to stimulate tendons, tissue and blood circulation by moving the entire body freely instead of being limited by the restrictions imposed by using a telephone handset. The human body is capable of performing dynamic work for hours at a time. The more we move the better it suits our body enabling us to sustain concentration and performance.

Headsets are lightweight and typically weigh considerably less than telephone handsets (6 to 10 times less). This literally takes the load off the user's shoulders compared to picking up and holding a telephone handset. Furthermore, headsets leave the upper body free to move dynamically, and users can stand up and move their entire body. Further benefits occur if the headset is wireless such as using a GN9330e headset. Users can move their entire body freely and move around in the office environment activating muscles and tendons in the lower body, which will loosen your muscles and stimulate blood circulation.

How do we get in such positions?
Typical strenuous postures appear when the user tries to solve other tasks whilst holding the telephone handset. Either one hand has to hold the handset, or the handset is cradled between neck and shoulder to free the hands up for other immediate tasks. Both postures are inexpedient because they are neither healthy nor ideal for task-solving. In this context headsets leave both arms and hands free for typing, retrieving information and handling objects.

To summarise:
The telephone handset centralises the user’s radius of action limiting physical mobility capabilities. The headset on the other hand moves communication to the head, making the user the centre of activities which offers the most natural pattern of motion.

This reduction in stress can have a fundamental effect on your entire workforce resulting in less sick days and influencing increases in productivity. The ability to work hands free has been shown to significantly improve a user’s ability to multitask increasing their effectiveness in the office.

At Corpteluk we provide a range of headsets, both wired and wireless giving contact centre managers and alike various options to increase the productiveness and health of their workforce. It’s amazing in this day and age that people are still forced to endure physical strain which could be easily prevented with the adoption of such a simple communications tool which benefits not only the user but the business as a whole.
For more information