Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada, where a few of us from the Microsoft Hardware team are attending the 2011 National Ergonomics Conference! This four-day event (Nov. 29-Dec. 2) draws ergonomics experts from all over to share their latest research and to show off innovative new products.
Microsoft has a booth here (#417) to showcase our ergonomic mice and keyboards (as well as other products like headsets and webcams) and to demonstrate our general thought leadership in ergonomics. If you can’t make it in person but still want to learn more about ergonomics, here’s a quick primer:
What is ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the scientific study of how people work. A great deal of ergonomic research is focused on matching human capabilities to task requirements, with the benefit of reducing the chance of injury and strains in the workplace.
Why is ergonomics important to my company?
How your employees sit, type, swipe, point, and click—and the products they use to do these things—can affect daily performance and long-term health. Odds are you and your employees spend quite a bit of time at a computer, whether at work or at home. And while you may not think of working on a computer as something that is physically demanding, the truth is, an improperly designed workspace can cause neck, shoulder and back pain, eye strain, headaches, poor circulation in the arms and legs, fatigue, and in many cases even debilitating Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs).
Does Microsoft build ergonomically designed hardware?
Yes. Designing products that integrate with how people work is a major goal of the Microsoft Hardware team. We study how people move and work at their computers for extended periods of time, and then build products that address musculoskeletal risk factors.
What does Microsoft mean when they says that ergonomic products can help improve my company’s bottom line?
The costs associated with workplace injuries can be high. Altogether, RSIs represent 62 percent of all North American workers’ compensation claims. They also result in nearly $15 to $20 billion in lost work time and medical claims each year, as reported by the US OSHA. Of the many risk factors associated with RSIs, one of the easiest to address is improper workstation configuration, including the use of an appropriate pointing device and keyboard. Properly designed ergonomic input devices have been shown to reduce computer-related pain and demonstrate a significant effect on the incidence of RSIs for primary prevention.
What are the issues with non-ergonomic hardware?
Keyboards and mice that are not ergonomically designed do not offer the clinically proven ergonomic benefits and can put undue stress on users’ arms, wrists, and hands. This leads to health issues and higher total cost of ownership from decreased productivity and even loss of work time.
How do I find out more about the costs of potential workplace injuries and how ergonomic devices can help?
Visit www.Healthy-Computing.com to find resources that address the costs associated with RSIs, how to avoid them, and some easy steps for businesses to follow.
Where can I find out more information about how to properly set up a workstation, how to select a mouse, and how to select a keyboard?
Again, visit www.Healthy-Computing.com and look for the Healthy Computing Guide.
So if you’re attending the 2011 National Ergonomics Conference, stop by Booth #417 and say hi!
- Hardware Team