Person using phone and demonstrating trend of tech neck

Mobile Offices New Age Injuries

Productivity, quality, and efficiency are of utmost importance in today’s world, which has resulted in new and exciting technology to help companies achieve their goals more quickly and efficiently than ever before. These technologies help us share information, while often also providing us with added flexibility in our work life; for example, many people work from home or mobile offices. However, with the implementation of new technology and mobile/home offices comes the introduction of new ergonomic challenges.

Companies have traditionally used computer monitors, CPUs, keyboards, and mice for employees to perform their work. As is evidenced in countless research, working with these devices in poor postures has resulted in the typical office injuries we have come to know: carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back strain, and neck/upper back tightness. Generally speaking, mitigating these issues in a standard office requires adjustments to the chair, working height, and/or changes to equipment to ensure neutral body postures and worker safety.

With newer technology emerging as normal in the work world including laptops/notebooks, smart phones, and tablets, we are seeing a host of new injuries. For instance, Text Neck from looking down to view a phone or tablet or Blackberry Thumb from repetitive typing on a device are creating workplace injuries that were never previously a concern.

What to Do?

Now more than ever, ergonomics should be a tool you turn to when combating workplace injuries in the office. Read more for helpful tips to minimize injury likelihood in the age of new technology:

1. Accessorize

There are numerous accessories that are designed to improve our physical set-up when using non-traditional computers and devices. Consider investing in a laptop or tablet riser, an external keyboard, and an external mouse that you can tuck away in your bag. This will allow you to position your monitor, regardless of the type, at eye level and position your keyboard and mouse at a comfortable height to ensure neutral body postures.

2. Talk-to-Text

Rather than typing away on your smart phone or tablet and risking poor neck postures and repetitive hand/thumb stain, consider installing or investing in a talk-to-text application to perform the typing for you.

3. Positioning

As important as it is to have the correct technology, it’s just as important to exercise the appropriate postural awareness when using these devices. Regardless of where your office or workspace is, be sure to situate yourself as neutral as possible.

4. Training

Understanding of ergonomic set-up is essential for any office worker, no matter where they work, to properly position themselves. Ensure that all staff, have the appropriate training and knowledge of office ergonomic set-up, which will aid in ensuring proper positioning regardless of the work location.

In a perfect world, everyone would be positioned in the most optimal set-up at all times; however that is not reality. What we need to fall back on is the understanding of how our body moves and what is considered neutral. The goal of any ergonomic evaluation is to get back to neutral as this is the body posture that provides the greatest protection from musculoskeletal disorders.

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