Today, we performed an evaluation of a client who felt as if things were just “not quite right”. Now, this woman happens to have been seen by us a few times, she’s been educated in ergonomics and the basics for a number of years. She’s pretty on top of it, so it seemed a little strange to receive a request to go and visit with her. We exchanged pleasantries and such and caught up on families and holidays and work…..we asked her to explain what ergonomic issue she was having – and it came out “I just don’t feel quite comfortable anymore”.
The last time we visited we had made recommendations for some new equipment and she has been using it for years without any issue, everything’s working well, so she’s stumped. She told us that she feels as if she is “swimming in her chair”. She says, “well you know, I’ve lost 40 pounds”. Wow! What an accomplishment! And, sure enough the chair that was recommended to her 40 pounds ago is the one she’s currently sitting in. She hadn’t changed any of the adjustments in quite a while. So, we made a few simple adjustments – scooted the seat depth in (as she didn’t need that additional butt room) and rotated the armrests backwards (she didn’t need them sticking out front ways so far as her belly wasn’t out there anymore). She immediately felt the difference……
We ask all the time about job changes or task changes or office moves or new equipment or changes in commuting, home computer use and personal stress. We ask employees to self-assess their workstations and areas to determine if it’s a good fit. But we don’t ask about real personal stuff – have you gained or lost a significant amount of weight? Have you had surgery recently? Have you undergone a major life change – wedding, marriage, divorce, death in the family, etc. Are you sick? …. All of these “untouchable” questions do make a difference – all of these things impact a person’s ability to do their job well and effectively – they can have positive, as well as negative, impacts. We aren’t scared of those “untouchables”, and we’re willing to ask those questions and hear that personal side of your life.
That’s why we’re the Friendly Ergonomist!