Small Changes to Your WFH = Big Health and Happiness Changes

September 23, 2020

Through offering Remote Ergonomic Evaluations and/or Interactive Workshops to your employees you can contribute to making positive, big benefits on how you and your employees feel at the end of the workday.

Ergonomics provides value by helping your employees feel good physically and to have less stress when they leave work, or in current times, leave work behind as they move into another room in the house.

Ergonomics can help your employees feel more energized, prevent aches and pains, and help them to be more productive, maybe even more cheerful?

You and your employees can be transformed by
Virtual Ergonomic Evaluations and Classes

Contact ErgoArts at: serafine@ergoarts.net for more information or call us at 650-224-7294

Ergonomic Remote Evaluations — 50% off till the end of April!

April 24, 2020

In this time where more people are working from home…
What is their physical set up?
on a laptop on a couch?
the kitchen counter?
a random chair?

 

Weeks or months spent in unhealthy positions could lead to months of reduced productivity when everyone returns to the workplace.

Let me help you and your employees work from home safer – from an ergonomic perspective. 

Offer them individual remote ergonomic evaluations or classes.

We can come up with ways to use what is currently in the home, like books, to keep the body physically healthy while spending days in front of a computer.

Creative, mindful, low-cost simple solutions are available with substantial, positive impacts. Examples, books used to raise monitor or to be used as a footrest, if feet don’t the ground,  can keep the body healthy while spending days in front of a computer. 

email me to get started: serafine@ergoarts.net

 

ErgoArts Is Now Offering Virtual Ergonomics Evaluations

March 31, 2020

I love the work I do as an ergonomist. I love helping people stay able-bodied, avoid injury and promote healing. I don’t want to see people in pain or suffering from an injury that could have been prevented with information and proper appraisal.

In this present moment, many people are finding themselves working at home. Many may be setting themselves up for future discomforts and injuries from: awkward positions for long periods of time, not taking breaks and using excessive force and the pain may not be noticeable now but will manifest itself in the future. Is this you? Is this your employees?

Be proactive.

Like taking vitamins or supplements and eating healthy to keep well!

Ergonomics is the same thing.

It is here to keep you well.

Testimonial:
“Having a remote ergonomic assessment from Serafine was a tremendous help to me as I’ve been working on a laptop from home. It was quick and efficient. It’s pretty amazing the things an ergonomic professional like Serafine can notice by watching me in my work environment. She was able to quickly diagnose problems and offer easy solutions.”
— Marc, a computer programmer working from home on the dining room table

How a Virtual Ergonomics Appointment Works

email serafine@ergoarts.net to schedule an appointment

Tell us a bit about you

  • You’ll fill out a brief form that will save us time during the call
  • You’ll receive a link for a Zoom video conference that we will use for your appointment.
  • Here are the Options we can use:
    • Option One – Log in to the Zoom conference call from both your computer & your smartphone– This way we can talk face to face and you can also prop up your phone alongside your desk and we can get a good view of you working in your home office. Ideally, we need to see your head to toe profile.
    • Option Two – Just log in from your smartphone so the camera can be easily moved.
    • Option Three -You have a webcam or laptop with a camera plus a smartphone.

Get Personalized Recommendations:

  • During the evaluation, we will give you recommendations on furniture and equipment adjustments, posture and technique corrections and we may recommend products that will make your work easier
  • Within a day, we’ll email you a summary of the recommended products with links
  • You have the option to get a recording of the call. Just let us know.

Prices:

Normally a 40-minute appointment is $150.00 dollars.

Now only $75.00!!!  50% discount!

From now until the end of April to help out folks suddenly working from home this price is discounted to be $75.00 for a 40-minute appointment.

You will get all the above.

Testimonial:
“So glad that Serafine was able to use Zoom to do a virtual ergonomic assessment! Setting up the right position in my new makeshift home office so that I would not experience neck, lower back or wrist pain was a priority … I am so appreciative that it felt like Serafine was sitting next to me and came up with the right position to ensure I works be pain-free and comfortable!”
— Rebecca, a new homeworker

(to see testimonials from before the current issue see my testimonial page)

Of Course You Have Questions!!

email serafine@ergoarts.net to schedule a Free phone call

Ergo Tip: Is Standing a Good Solution for Office Workers?

February 3, 2020

Standing Office WorkersProlonged Standing on the Job =
Greater Risk of Heart Disease 

A study of 7,300 workers finds those who primarily stood were twice as likely as those who primarily sat to suffer from heart disease during a 12-year period.
Sandy Smith | Aug 18, 2017

 

seated:standing

 

A combination of sitting, standing and moving on the job is likely to have the greatest benefits for heart health,” says Smith. “Workplaces need to apply this message not just to workers who predominantly sit, but also – in fact, especially – to workers who predominantly stand.”

Man Walking

“Prevention programs that focus solely on physical job activity, while ignoring other conditions such as the psychosocial work environment, are unlikely to lead to meaningful changes in cardiovascular risk,” Smith says.

Here is a link to the study: https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/187/1/27/4081581
The Relationship Between Occupational Standing and Sitting and Incident Heart Disease Over a 12-Year Period in Ontario, Canada. Peter Smith, Huiting Ma, Richard H Glazier, Mahée Gilbert-Ouimet, Cameron Mustard. American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 187, Issue 1, January 2018, Pages 27–33,https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwx298.   Published: 11 August 2017
Here is the link to EHS article referring to the study: https://www.ehstoday.com/health/prolonged-standing-job-greater-risk-heart-disease

Ergo Tip: Eye Care Reminders

January 27, 2020
Eyestrain
Keep all screens clean and avoid working while
there is glare on the screen

Here is a quick check.

  • Turn off your computer.
  • Do you see any reflections left on the screen?
  • Did you see the window behind you or the bright ceiling light?
    If so, your computer is causing glare.
  • Turn the screen away from those reflections.

 

Eyestrain.2Remember to take eye-rest breaks even when set up optimally.
Use the 20-20-20 Rule.
Every 20 minutes,
look at something 20 feet away
for 20 seconds.

Eye.Exercise

This is the best eye exercise I have found.

There is a little video that shows you how to do it and the picture above shows you the points you will need to press with your fingers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=27&v=qD2OaU8FdFE

 

For More Ergonomic Solutions feel free to contact me!!

Follow the link to an article I wrote in Ceramic Monthly: Do you know where your elbows are in space while working?

January 3, 2020
This combines my love for ceramics/sculpture and ergonomics.
Check it out at this link:

Clay Culture: Create in Comfort

 

Originally published in March 2019 issue of Ceramics Monthly, pages 24-25. http://www.ceramicsmonthly.org . Copyright, The American Ceramic Society. Reprinted with permission.

See the article I wrote on neutral spine and creating comfortable in Feb. 2018 issue of Ceramics Monthly.

January 24, 2018
This combines my love for ceramics/sculpture and ergonomics.
Check it out at this link:
https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/ceramics-monthly/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/clay-culture-creating-comfortably/#

Originally published in February 2018 issue of Ceramics Monthly, pages 24-25. http://www.ceramicsmonthly.org . Copyright, The American Ceramic Society. Reprinted with permission.

Why I Do What I Do, and What’s In It For You Too

January 24, 2017

My twisty- turny journey to doing the work I love involved numerous careers, multiple colleges, and both coasts.

I have been a professional ergonomist for 17 years and would love the opportunity to help you and your employees create healthy and productive habits within your work environment.

I can honestly say that not once as I child did I stand up in class and say “I want to be an ergonomist when I grow up.” In fact, drawing on my lifelong love of art, I started my career off as a medical illustrator drawing fish bones at the Museum of Natural History in NYC! It was a fun job, but despite the training and specialized nature of the work, it just didn’t pay enough.

In order to increase my salary and get steady work, I became a graphic designer. Graphic design required drawing and design work using computer based software. All this software required extensive use of the mouse (or other input device). After many years of being a graphic designer and using the mouse a lot, I developed a repetitive strain injury in my right hand. After a while, I realized I could no longer do this kind of work full time, since my hand was not getting any better. I needed to take care of my body and ensure I could support myself.

During that time, I had tried many treatments to help myself, from massage to chiropractic care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, medication, industrial physicians, wearing braces, using topical medications, self massage, stretching, you name it! I was experiencing so much pain in my right hand and arm that I eventually took to calling myself a massage slut, because I would ask anyone and everyone to massage my aching limb.

As they say if you cannot do, teach, so I became a graphic design instructor. I did that for a few years, until I figured out that to become a full-track, tenured faculty member I would need to have a Master’s degree in graphic design. Because this would involve me going back to doing nearly the same level of graphic design work (and using a mouse) that had caused my injury in the first place, this was not a good solution.

Hence I found myself fully immersed in an early mid-life crisis. What was I going to do for the rest of my life to earn money that would not further compromise my health? As part of my search for a solution, one summer I went to visit the career center at the local community college and met this very helpful woman who did not have much to do during the scholastic off-season. I ended up visiting her two to three times a week and she would help me evaluate various career possibilities.

Lost as I was, I did know that I wanted to spend the rest of my career helping people and doing preventative and/or therapeutic work. I considered everything from physical therapy and occupational therapy to phlebotomy (people trained to draw blood from a patient). I made lots of calls and did many informational interviews for all sorts of careers. Unfortunately, none of these turned out to be a good match, in that they would involve using my hands too much and therefore wouldn’t be a good match for my physical needs (I don’t like to use the word “limitations”).

This was before the internet-based age of Information we now live in, so perhaps it’s not surprising that it was an unassuming little piece of paper that set me on the path to what I do today. One day this wonderful councelor found this 2” x 3” flyer talking about something called The Human Factors and Ergonomic Society. Intrigued, I called them, asked a bunch of questions, and then waited patiently for the (snail) mail to arrive that contained the book of all the schools in it with Ergonomic programs around the US.

After still more phone calls and interviews, it turned out that yes, being an ergonomist was something I could physically do. Eventually, I started graduate school for Human Factors and Ergonomics at San Jose State University in San Jose, CA. I was now in the engineering building, which seemed to me a strange place for an artist to end up. One of my teachers called me a “canary in a coal mine” meaning that if I can get through the program anyone can. I wrote a 99 page thesis and I graduated in 2004 with my Master’s degree. I became a full time intern at a tech company in 2000, working and going to grad school simultaneously.

Having been a practicing ergonomist now for 17 years, I know I made a good decision. I love my job. I love helping people. I love sharing my knowledge and helping people to keep their bodies healthy and their lives productive. And I am immensely grateful (and aware of the irony in the fact) that I am now in a position to help people avoid the very type of injury that set me on a path to this career in the first place.

Because of the experiences that brought me to this work, I am in a unique position to provide empathetic and insightful assistance to your company and employees regarding the ergonomic environment at your business. I would love to help keep you and your employees healthy and productive. – Serafine Lilien, Owner, ErgoArts

 

 

Working With Your Chair, Not Against It

March 22, 2016

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from people I am doing an ergonomics assessment for is how horrible their chair is. It’s uncomfortable, they’ve tried using a pillow, using a blanket, doing odd things with tape, and yet no matter what they try, they’re still experiencing discomfort, sometimes major discomfort such as the inability to get out of the chair without back pain. Granted, sometimes the problem is the chair, but very often the chair in question is a fully adjustable, fully functioning ergonomic chair. The problem is that the person has no idea how to use it properly.

While in many contexts using a chair “properly” is as simple as sitting down in it, the chairs we use for work, because we spend so much time in them, require a little more effort. The chair must be adjusted correctly and the employee must be sitting in the proper position (called “sitting in neutral”).

Just the other day I did an evaluation at a client site. The person I was evaluating, “Wendy,” was sitting in a cushy looking “executive style” chair where the only adjustability was height. The arm rests were fixed to the back rest and seat pan. Adjustability is key to a good ergonomic chair, because if you can adjust the chair then a wider range of people can actually “fit” into the chair. Wendy had a small pillow she was placing into the curve of the lower back in order to provide support for her lumbar area. This is the most important place for a person to have support in a chair, but this chair had no adjustable lumbar support. When Wendy stood up the pillow moved, so every time she sat down she had to remember to put the cushion back into the correct spot on her lower back. How many times a day do you think she did not put the cushion back in place? I actually have photographic evidence of her not using the pillow as a lumbar support but sitting on the pillow instead. Sitting on the pillow is not helping support her back! People get in a hurry, they have multiple tasks at hand, they cannot always remember to put the little pillow back in place. I call this solution a “band-aid” because it is temporary, not something you want to use long term.

Then Wendy told me her “other” chair was over in the corner. It turned out that this other chair was a fully adjustable ergonomic chair in excellent condition. When I asked Wendy why she wasn’t using it, as it had fully adjustable lumbar support, she replied, “Oh that chair is so uncomfortable, that chair hurt my back. I had tape all over it trying to get it to work.” I suggested we give it a try, to see if I could get it to work for her.

I made the seat pan longer, changed the angle of the seat pan to have a slight negative tilt so that there was no pressure on the back of her legs, adjusted the lumbar support to fit into the curve her back and adjusted the back rest angle to allow for the alignment of ears, shoulder, elbow and hip. Wendy then sat in this chair and the look of relief was palpable on her face. Wendy was comfortable. The chair fit! No tape needed. No pillow needed. No new chair needed.

This is why ergonomic assessments are so important. Companies can spend good money on a fine ergonomic chair and their employees have no idea how to adjust it to their body. Purchasing a good chair for employees is not even half the solution. Teaching employees how to sit in neutral and how to correctly operate and adjust their chair is incredibly important, will minimize the injuries associated with incorrect posture, and ultimately save the company money.

Wendy had not been educated in either how to sit in neutral, nor in how to adjust her chair, and she is far from the exception. Of the over 10,000 evaluations I’ve done, perhaps 3% involved people actually knew how to adjust their chair, and even fewer understood how to position their body properly by sitting in neutral.

Hiring an ergonomist will help you and your employees adjust those expensive chairs they are complaining are uncomfortable. And if they’re sitting in old, worn out chairs, having an ergonomist come to evaluate the employees and their specific needs will allow you to purchase appropriate chairs.

To schedule an ergonomic assessment for yourself or your company please contact: Serafine@ergoarts.net.

History of CA Ergonomic Standard

June 16, 2009

http://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/5110.html