(Click here for the Beyond Ergo Business Overview).
Our world of knowledge work is morphing at an accelerating pace from the occasional use of calculators to the constant and integrated use of computers by all generations for work, study, leisure, and to manage our lives. This has coincided with a general decline in physical activity and fitness. This we know.
The evolution of computers has brought staggering business benefits in communications, system design, productivity and consumer reach. However, the tech revolution’s real economic and humanitarian cost has increasingly become apparent, with declining productivity and increasing rates of absenteeism, stress, attrition, and work-injury claims for those involved in computer-intensive work.
This article explores why organisations can no longer afford to roll out the same old simplistic office ergonomic training and reveals the research-backed whole-person training to build the new self-care competencies needed by knowledge workers to meet the health, safety and wellness challenges of our modern, mobile, computer-intensive and increasingly sedentary world of work.
This is not overstating the importance of this training issue. Musculoskeletal disorders and eye-related symptoms are the most frequently occurring health problems associated with long hours of computer use and are now considered significant contemporary occupational health problems. Over 86% of employees in offices, contact centres and similar report aches and musculoskeletal pain related to their work, and over 11% are suffering from chronic pain every day. (Click here for our White Paper Research). Worse still, reports of work-related pain and visits to doctors, physios and other allied health services significantly increased when COVID accelerated the acceptance of remote work.
How can an employee stay focused and productive when constantly distracted by pain?
Let me give you real-world examples | Client Stories
The young client who joined an accountancy firm and in just two years after leaving farm work and playing rugby, had developed tendonitis in both index fingers and suffered increasing neck pain. Or the distressed mother who approached me after a Lunch and Learn to say her daughter (24) and her boyfriend (25) were both seeing chiropractors and doctors for RSI-related injuries due to excessive computer use. The boyfriend’s pain was terrible, leaving his right hand almost useless and leaving him with no option but to seek a work cover claim. (Read | A Frightening Trend | For more detail).
Add to the physical pain the health risks and costs associated with our increasingly sedentary work and lifestyle. These include an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, a range of cancers, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and poor mental health, including depression. Worksafe Queensland reports that:
- “Half of the loss in workplace productivity is due to chronic conditions such as headaches, neck/back pain and hay fever, and half is related to chronic diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.”
- “The healthiest Australian employees are almost three times more productive than their unhealthy colleagues.”
Click here for the Worksafe Link.
We Know Employee Wellbeing is Linked to Higher Productivity: Demonstrated by improved mental health, reduced absenteeism, enhanced engagement, greater job satisfaction, reduced workers’ compensation claims, and lower healthcare costs (for the business and the individual). Managers commonly acknowledge the need and benefits of building a strong health and wellness culture, so why have programs failed?
New Research | A Focus on the Needs of the Individual
My own experience of pain and injury suggested a few wellness talks, and yet another ergonomics checklist did not provide sufficient WHS training. That pain triggered my return to the University of Queensland, and my PhD research confirmed current training barely scratches the surface of the significant and largely unrecognised health, safety and wellness challenges facing our knowledge workers (i.e. anyone involved in computer-intensive work). It also revealed a considerable training flaw in the current program design. Building real physical skills takes more than a talk and demonstration. It takes a VET-style program with multiple learning strategies and stages, followed by ongoing support to ensure transfer into everyday positive work behaviours and self-care habits.
Clearly, there was a need to extend training to build a holistic, whole-person approach to health, safety and wellness for computer-intensive and increasingly sedentary work.
Based on that PhD research and informed by industry needs, all Beyond Ergo programs aim to answer two simple questions:
- What range of knowledge and work skills does an individual need to increase comfort and productivity, reduce the chance of a painful, expensive and possibly career-limiting injury and stay fit for work?
- What program design allows managers and team leaders to easily implement and support the introduction of new health, safety, and wellness skills? A program valued for improving productivity and team culture while reducing labour costs and without adding additional burden to already demanding and complex roles?
Click here for the Position Paper summary of research revealing this gap and the change in training perspective needed if managers are sincere about supporting employee health, safety and wellbeing.
Click here for the original PhD Research | Building Computer Use Competency Training as a Management Strategy for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders among Computer Users
Beyond Ergo Training | Solution-Oriented Whole-Person Approach
Focusing on practical application, the Beyond Ergo programs bridge the health, safety and wellness gap between what the company must provide, the support managers are encouraged to give, and what employees need to do to stay fit for work.
We believe good training should inspire, empower and equip employees with the motivation and tools to seek solutions before an ach escalates into a painful, expensive and possibly career-limiting injury.
We don’t promote the use of additional tools or equipment. The Beyond Ergo program works to improve productivity and reduce the risk of work injury claims because of the extended content and program delivery that ensures transfer as actionable self-care competencies. These new no-cost skills, tactics and strategies build the Personal Protective Behaviours (PPBs) needed for our modern, mobile, multi-screen and increasingly sedentary world of counter-intensive work.
Ease of Delivery and Transfer
- Seamless Integration: These Turn-Key programs seamlessly integrate into existing work routines, minimising disruption and enhancing adoption.
- Simplicity in Complexity: We have embraced the need for multidisciplinary content and, by focusing on translating the knowledge into actionable work skills, make it appear simple, ensuring it addresses various aspects of safe computer use clearly and understandably.
- Minimal Work Time Lost: The on-demand foundation skills workshop for employees and easy-to-share review and coaching sheets for managers and frontline leaders minimises work time lost and supports skill development into everyday health, safety and wellness habits.
- Whole-Person Focus: The extended program content includes refining generic ergonomic recommendations to match stature and equipment, a holistic range of positive work behaviours and targeted physical conditioning to help speed recovery and decrease the chance of an ache becoming a painful, expensive, and possibly career-limiting injury.
- Follow-up and Motivation through the 70:20:10 Rule: Building real skills (not just knowledge) takes more than a talk and a quick demo. The program provides resources for easy review and coaching to motivate employees to refine their skills and proactively implement strategies to minimise or eliminate physical discomfort at work.
- Barrier Identification and Elimination: The program identifies and eliminates in-house training application barriers, ensuring smooth implementation and uptake.
- Training Recipients: While the primary recipients are computer users, the involvement of team leaders, supervisors, and managers is crucial for successful training transfer. The inclusion of program review and coaching resources ensures their practical support during training, signals the value supervisors place on the course, and demonstrates the company’s commitment.
- Leading Edge: Program content is constantly updated to include new research and feedback to meet the industry’s and employees’ changing needs.
Discover the Beyond Ergo Difference
For managers serious about caring for staff and retaining talent, it’s time to invest in training designed to meet employee needs and empower them to build the Personal Protective Behaviours (PPBs) they need to stay fit for work.
To get the economic benefit from training, employees don’t need more theory. They need a practical, whole-person approach to training that easily integrates the building of actionable health, safety and wellness skills for our modern, multiscreen, work-from-anywhere and increasingly sedentary world of knowledge work.
The current training programs, which are knowledge-based and segmented, are ineffective in training employees’ health, safety and wellness skills and do not cover the holistic range of content needed for employees to build the self-care skills needed to protect themselves from work-related pain and injury.
Now is the time to extend your current training to a comprehensive program focusing on developing essential work skills delivered through multiple learning strategies and training stages. The Beyond Ergo program works by empowering employees, providing them with the necessary knowledge and resources to prevent and address work-related discomfort, and supporting managers to become coaches with no additional work on their part.
4 Simple Ways…
To discover how Beyond Ergo programs extend training to bridge the health, safety and wellness training gap.
- Click here for the Beyond Ergo Business Overview
Why not join our FREE webinar to see our programs in action?
- Click Here for an early notification, as numbers will be limited.
Have you planned your Wellness talks for this year?
- Click here to book a tentative date for your Lunch and Learn and we will call to learn more about your needs and timing.
Or, Click Here to book a call at a time that suits you to find out more.
Business benefits of early intervention
What does ComCare say
Worksafe Qld | Benefits of investing in work health
Return on investment calculator
Worksafe Qld | ROI From Work Health And Safety Initiative
What We Do | We help businesses improve productivity and labour costs by decreasing work-related pain and risk of injury claims. We do this by training the Personal Protective Behaviours (PPBs) individuals need for modern computer-intensive work and play.
These new multidiscipline programs go Beyond Ergonomics to build Self-Care Competencies for today’s mobile, computer-intensive and increasingly sedentary workforce.