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Where You Stand: Why Posture is Important at Work

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Making sure people are safe at work is one of the main goals of management. It’s crucial that workers are provided with the right tools for their specific jobs.

This requirement is more than just hammers, drills, and computers. It includes safety equipment like helmets, harnesses, work goggles and gloves that they need to avoid injury

Guidelines from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) not only ensure that managers are following safety protocols but also educates the workforce regarding hazardous situations. Training guidelines and signage are created to help everyone follow best practices when it comes to conditions they will encounter at work.

However, there are simple things workers do every day that put them at risk beyond their awareness. One major aspect of work that has a huge impact, but is rarely discussed, is standing posture.

Construction Worker

© Flickr user Carl Campbell.

Standing Stress

About two-thirds of the world’s working population are on their feet for the majority of their workday. While standing is less detrimental to your health than sitting for hours, it’s still important to know how best to walk, rest, and carry oneself to remain safe.

Standing for extended periods at work not only leads to leg cramping and backaches, but also other issues such as fatigue, swelling of the limbs, pressure on the joints, and even poor heart conditions. These health issues can affect employee performance over time.

Just as you might make sure that someone has protective eyewear or footwear, the body is the most important machine a worker has. Not taking care of it properly results in pain, injury, and loss of work as well as a negative impact on your business.

There are many strategies one can take to relieve this kind of physical stress of keeping one’s body upright all day. Workers should consider the aspects of standing properly, lifting more effectively, and stretching the body to accomplish manual tasks and maintain health at work.

Some best practices to follow include:

  • When standing, keep your weight on your heels to avoid stress on the balls of your feet.
  • Keep knees slightly bent to make sure blood flow isn’t restricted.
  • Keep limber with stretches like one that aligns your neck and chin, or rolling your shoulders.
  • Follow good lifting protocol — lift with legs and walk with hips forward when carrying heavy objects.
  • Use shoe inserts for better cushioning.

How to Implement Changes in Posture

Of course, managers want to make sure to maintain boundaries at work. While it’s certainly in their own best interests, correcting posture or commenting on how people sit too much would certainly be on the list of things that are beyond the pale at work.

So how would you make sure that workers move, sit and stand in a way that will keep them healthy?

  • Provide knowledge through signage or email regarding ways to stretch and lift items more effectively, without pain or stress.
  • Make sure workers have a specific time set aside to stretch, rest, or take a walk.
  • Consider guidelines about team lifting, resting time, or taking lunches away from desks.
  • Lead by example. Start meeting on the go and get a standing desk.
  • Offer healthy accessories and incentives like free shoe inserts or wellness programs

Lior Zitzman
Ultimately, it’s only possible to do so much to make sure that workers remain healthy. But by providing education on the impact of standing as well as the opportunity to take advantage of stretching time or resting, your team will become healthier. And those that are healthy are more productive, happier, and more likely to stay at a job.

Visit the BigRentz site for more tips on proper posture and standing including an infographic!

Lior Zitzman is the Director of Digital Audience at BigRentz, a construction equipment rentals marketplace with a network of over 1,600 rental partners and 8,000 partner locations. He has more than 15 years of experience in enterprise-level SEO, digital strategy, conversion optimization, and SEM at automotive publishing and equipment companies. He previously worked at Motor Trend Group for 10 years and holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. In his spare time, he enjoys website development, gadgets, cars, fishing, and The Matrix.

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